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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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Jun 01, 2017


I love hummus.  I remember when it was first starting to gain popularity and wasn't just seen as a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food staple.  I would try every brand to find my favorite, which changed over time as I was exposed to new brands.  I even tried making it a few times but I could never get the texture and consistency just right.  I had lots of good versions at restaurants and mine just never lived up to it.  All of the research I did said I needed to add tons of oil and I just couldn't get myself to pour in half a bottle of olive oil when I was making it at home.  First, because it was expensive and second, I could see no reason to add all of that fat (not that I'm opposed to healthy fats).  So mine always turned out too dry and not that rich creamy texture you think of with good hummus.  For the time being, I gave up making it and resorted to only eating it at restaurants or the store bought varieties.  After a while, I got frustrated with all the packaged varieties and their ingredients.  I didn't want it with canola oil and preservatives but it was hard to find so back into the kitchen I went. 

This time I decided I would try adding a mixture of oil, tahini and water to see if I could still get the rich mouth feel that the oil and tahini gives it but come to a creamy consistency with the added water and not spend my whole paycheck on olive oil.  After a few tries, I had a great recipe (in my so humble opinion) that I could actually be proud of.  I've been using this recipe for a couple years now and it is a fantastic template for any other other hummus your heart desires.  I have used this base recipe with caramelized onions and balsamic, cilantro and jalapeño and I've even switched out the chickpeas for white beans to make a delicious white bean hummus.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  I hope you will give it a try and please let me know in the comments below if you would like me to share my other hummus recipes with you!

Love and hummus for all,




2 cups of chickpeas, cooked and drained*
1/3 cup tahini
3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


1. Put all of the ingredients (except the water) in a food processor.  Pulse until starting to combine.  Scrape down the sides.

2. Turn the food processor to on and start to drizzle in the water.  Scraping the sides occasionally.  Add until a nice creamy consistency is made.  It usually takes about 1/4 to 1/3 cups water. 

Notes: *To get the creamiest hummus I've been told you need to peel the chickpeas.  I'm sure it probably works but I can't get myself to take this step.  It's up to you if want to spend your day peeling beans but I think it is still good and creamy without this step!

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Here is part two of my daily routine series where we are diving into the Ayurvedic tradition of Dinacharya.  As we work to bring mindfulness into our daily routine it can be a little tricky to change our habits at first.  I have found the best way to add a new habit is to set up a cue at a specific time of day or attach it to another routine you already do.  If you miss a day, who cares, try again tomorrow.  Don't worry about the times you skip or forget about it a first.  This is natural, just keep trying and if you never seem to be doing it, change the cue or time so it can work into your schedule better.

Last month, I shared about drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning.  (If you missed it, you can read it here!)  How did you guys do?  Have you noticed any positive changes?  If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

This month, we are talking about something that may seem a little weird at first but I'm asking you to keep an open mind.  What if I told you it only takes a few minutes a day and can help your skin look brighter, improve circulation, help shed dead skin, unclog pores, can help breakup cellulite and it helps to purify your lymph system which rids the body of toxins (added bonus: this could help you lose weight).

So what are we talking about? Dry brushing.  It really is pretty darn simple and all you need is a dry brush with natural bristles; avoid synthetic and plastic ones.

The first time I came across dry brushing I was reading about a supermodels beauty tricks in a magazine.  I thought it sounded odd and didn't really give it much thought.  After learning more about the benefits of this Ayurvedic routine I decided to give it a try and it has been part of my self-care ritual fairly consistently over the last 3 or 4 years.

How to:

Step 1: Set yourself up for success by putting your dry brush where you will see it and be reminded to use it before you shower (after a few days, if you aren't noticing it, try a new spot).

Step 2: I recommend stripping down and getting in the shower before you turn the water on so all the dead skin stays in there, instead of on your bathroom floor.

Step 3: Remember to be gentle on sensitive areas such as the breasts and always avoid the face.

Step 4: Use long sweeping motions starting from the feet and moving towards the heart.  I start at my feet and do a fluid movement all the way up to the top of my leg, make my way all the way around and move to the other side, then I move to my arms and brush from my hands to my shoulders all the way around on both sides, then I move to the torso (I skip my belly while pregnant)and use long sweeping strokes up on the front side, then I move to the back, I brush upwards on my bottom and then down my back (a longer handle is nice for this part), lastly, I do my neck and chest, I start right below the chin line and move down towards my heart.

Step 5: Shower!

Step 6: Moisturize with a natural product like coconut oil or your favorite organic lotion (be sure to read the ingredients!).  You are flushing out toxins so it makes no sense to add them right back to your largest (and porous) organ.

I have even continued this practice during my pregnancy.  I use this method to help me when my limbs, especially my legs, feel like they are swelling or like there is stagnant energy in the body.

My challenge to you is to add this to your daily routine for the next month.  If you have questions or give it a try I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below!

Love and self-care,


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Growing up, Almond Joys were my favorite candy bar.  My dad would often pick me up from elementary school and take me to 7 Eleven and I would almost always grab an almond joy and a cherry Icee.  Well, those sugar loaded days are gone but I still love the combination of coconut, chocolate and almond. 

While we were on the road it was nice not to have to cook three meals a day so overnight oats became an easy breakfast staple.  You may remember my Strawberry Almond Butter Overnight Oats I shared from Maine.  There are so many variations and flavor combinations you can try with this concept.

This recipe is packed full of superfoods and is perfect for people with busy mornings.  All you do is stir the ingredients together and place it in the refrigerator overnight, scoop it into a bowl to enjoy or pack it in a jar for a delicious breakfast to go.  Don't forget your spoon!

Happy mornings,



Almond Joy Overnight Oats
Makes 4 cups


1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gf if needed)
4 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp maca powder (optional)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
1/3 cup almond butter
2 to 3 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey*
2 1/4 cups almond milk (preferable homemade)**


1. In a large bowl stir together all of the dry ingredients: oats, chia seeds, cacao, maca (if using), coconut and almonds.

2. Add almond butter, sweetener of choice and almond milk.  Stir until everything is incorporated.

3. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

4.  Scoop into a bowl or pack in a jar to go.

Serving suggestion: top with coconut, almonds and cacao nibs.

Notes: *Depending on how sweet you like it.  I reccomend starting with 2 tbsp and you can taste and add from there.  **Check out my Almond Milk recipe here.

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