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Easy Chickpea Basil Salad

Easy Chickpea Basil Salad | www.thatwasvegan.com

Greetings from the Rocky Mountains, where it is raining like a mutha! We need it of course, so I can’t complain. And when the sun finally does come out, everything is so green and lovely. I actually find the rain very cozy, when I’m inside. It’s when I have to commute in it with all those crazy drivers who apparently think to themselves “OMG! It’s raining! I need to slam on my brakes and go 4 mph!” that it starts to wear on me.

Anyhoozle, I have a super quick recipe for you today. I threw this together on Sunday afternoon and it made two lunches this week. Two healthy, delicious lunches, and it only took 10 minutes! It would also make a good side dish, and is perfect for those hot days when you really don’t wanna turn on your stove or oven!

The best part about this dish was that the basil and tomatoes came from my own little garden!


Easy Chickpea Basil Salad
Serves 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 can chickpeas
  2. 1 cup grape tomatoes
  3. 2 handfuls of basil leaves (20-25)
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  6. S&P
Instructions
  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, put in a mixing bowl.Halve the tomatoes, and add those. Chop or chiffonade the basil leaves and add to the bowl along with the garlic and vinegar.
  2. Taste and add S&P as desired. Serve cold or warm!
Notes
  1. Serves 2 as a lunch, or 3-4 as a side.
Adapted from greenlitebites
Adapted from greenlitebites
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
{ 7 comments }

Mini Quiche: Two Ways

Mini Quiche: Two Ways | www.thatwasvegan.com

Today I bring you the dish you didn’t even know you were craving: Vegan Mini Quiche! The reason I know you’ll love these more than you realize is because that’s what happened to me. My girl Lauren had her baby shower on Sunday and requested vegan quiche be on the menu. Honestly, the thought of quiche, vegan or not, has never gotten me excited, but who am I to stand between a pregnant lady and her food? Also, I love Lauren and was happy to help make her special day a little more delicious, so I made two kinds of quiche: Sweet Potato & Baby Kale (pictured above) and Broccoli & Cheddar!

I used this recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen as my starting point, and branched out from there. Lauren is kinda picky so I was limited in the veggies I could use (no mushrooms or anything red!), but I knew baby kale was a must because I have a ton of it growing in my backyard and it’s crazy good. The shredded sweet potatoes were originally added just for some color, but their flavor turned out great too.

Mini Quiche: Two Ways | www.thatwasvegan.com

I can’t actually remember if I ever had quiche made with eggs, so I can’t be all like “OMG! This tastes just like the original!” but I can tell you this: These were damn delicious. The tofu (thanks to the cornstarch) felt very much like cooked eggs, and the veggies and seasoning gave them that wonderful breakfast/brunch taste. I didn’t have any black salt, but if you add that it would be an even more authentic taste!

 Mini Quiche: Two Ways | www.thatwasvegan.com

 

Mini Quiche: Two Ways | www.thatwasvegan.com

The second batch was modeled after my Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup, and used all the same seasonings! That one was my favorite, it was very decadent. Scroll down for both recipes and check back soon for some more variations. I’m thinking about something with coconut bacon… 


 

Baby Kale & Sweet Potato Mini Quiche
Yields 12
Baby kale and grated sweet potato make these perfect for your next brunch!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. Non-stick spray
  2. 1 cup baby kale, washed and chopped
  3. 1 cup grated sweet potato
  4. 1 green onion, sliced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  6. Pinch of S&P
  7. 1 12.3 oz package Lite Firm Mori-Nu Tofu, WELL DRAINED
  8. 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
  9. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  10. 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  11. 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  12. 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  13. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  14. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375, and spray a 12-cup muffin pan with the non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Water saute the kale and sweet potato for 2-3 minutes. Add the green onion, rosemary and S&P, and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes. Make sure there's no moisture left in the pan. Remove from heat and set aside, leaving it in the pan.
  3. Combine the rest of your ingredients in the food processor and pulse until completely smooth. Scrape back into the veggie mix, stir and taste. Add more salt if needed.
  4. Spoon into the muffin tins. Reduce the oven heat to 350 and bake until the tops are golden and fork tines poked into the quiche come out clean, 30-35 minutes. Serve hot, warm or cold.
Notes
  1. If you didn't do a great job draining the tofu, or there was a lot of moisture left in your veggies, the cooking time will need to be longer. Just keep an eye on them, and continue to add 5 minute increments to the oven timer!
Adapted from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
Broccoli & Cheddar Mini Quiche
Yields 12
A quiche version of your favorite soup!?
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. Non-stick spray
  2. 2 cups well-chopped broccoli
  3. 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  4. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  5. Pinch of S&P
  6. 1 12.3 oz package Lite Firm Mori-Nu Tofu, WELL DRAINED
  7. 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
  8. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  9. 1/2 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
  10. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  11. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  12. 1/8 teaspoon garlic
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375, and spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Water saute the broccoli and onions for 4-5 minutes. Mix in the italian seasoning. Make sure the liquid is gone from the pan and remove from heat.
  3. Combine the rest of your ingredients in the food processor and pulse until nice and smooth. Scrape into the broccoli mix and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Spoon into the muffin tins. Reduce the oven heat to 350 and bake until the tops are golden and fork tines poked into the quiche come out clean, 30-35 minutes. Serve hot, warm or cold.
Notes
  1. If you didn't do a great job draining the tofu, or there was a lot of moisture left in your veggies, the cooking time will need to be longer. Just keep an eye on them, and continue to add 5 minute increments to the oven timer!
Adapted from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/

{ 6 comments }

Love That Dirty Water

I did it. I survived the Green River, dirty water, snakes and all!

Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

 Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

Actually, we only saw one snake (and no Deliverance-type hillbillies), plus a deer, a fox, a handful of bunny rabbits, one river otter, and 14,726 turkey vultures. They were waiting for me to drink too much beer and fall out of the canoe, but luckily for me that didn’t happen.

The scenery was beautiful, and the sun was hot. And yes, the water was a bit dirty because of the monsoon the week before. Lots of sediment, but nothing you can do about that.

 Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

So what is a 4-day canoe trip on the Green River in Utah like? Well, for me, it was a little like this:

Each day started shortly after sunrise with a simple breakfast, either instant oatmeal or a bagel with vegan cream cheese. This was followed by breaking down camp (2 tents, a big shade canopy, chairs, a table, the propane stove thingy, multiple coolers and tubs of food… and of course patrolling the beach for any wayward plastic cups!). Packing up always took longer than making camp the night before, but we were usually back on the water by 9.

The first beer usually got cracked open by 11 (at the latest), followed by lunch around noon or whenever we needed a break. We’d always stop for lunch at a nice sandy spot where we could swim a bit as well.  Lunch was, without fail, a Tofurky and Daiya cheese sandwich with mustard on whole grain bread, with an apple or a handful of oreos. Easy peasy.

Then, of course, a little meditation in the river with my beer ;)

 Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

More beer after lunch along with a continual dipping of my hat and my shirt in the water to stay cool. I’m not sure what the temperature was where we were, but it was 105 in Moab so it had to have been close to that. More beer, maybe some Super Seedz, and we’d start looking for a camp spot around 3. My bottom was always so sore by then from sitting in that darn canoe! We’d set up the canopy first, along with the table (needed a place to mix some ice cold vodka drinks, of course!), and after that you couldn’t keep me out of the water.

Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

At least not until dinner, that was. We brought a couple vegan dehydrated meals (Pad Thai, and Beans n’ Rice) which we used to supplement the REAL stars of the trip: My veggie foil packets! Before we left I just chopped up a bunch of veggies, seasoned them and added a bit of vegan butter, and wrapped them tight. We cooked them in the coals and it was perfect. Dessert was more vodka and oreos ;)

Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

This was my first time sleeping in a tent since I was like 10, and I actually enjoyed it! We left the rain fly off because it was hot as f*ck, which meant every time I’d wake up during the night I could see the stars and hear the river, and it was just so relaxing.

There were no ugly views…

Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

One of our favorite pastimes (besides saying “Hey, can you beer me?) was spotting shapes in the rocks. Do you see the frog?

Dirty Water, and Vegans are Not Annoying | www.thatwasvegan.com

This was perhaps the coolest thing we saw: A big ol’ group of friends with 4 canoes, all lashed together. While we were paddling our hineys off, these guys were just floating around under umbrellas and drinking whiskey!

Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

Our biggest adventure of the trip? This sweet girl named Cara Biner (Get it!? Perfect name for a Moab dog!)

Dirty Water, and Vegans are Not Annoying | www.thatwasvegan.com

We spent Friday night in Moab before heading to the river, and we were walking across a parking lot on our way to happy hour when this old gal ran up to us. She had tags but wasn’t with anyone. We got her over to the cool shady grass and I called her Mama. Unfortunately, Mama was out of town and couldn’t get ahold of anyone to come pick her up, so she gave me her address and told me how I could sneak into her house, so we could put Miss Cara Biner back inside where she’d be cool and safe! A nice passerby gave us some string to use as a leash, and it was totally a happy ending.

So, would I do the river trip again? Yes. Just not for a while. Also next time I’d wait and do it in early September when it’s not so hot!

Love That Dirty Water | www.thatwasvegan.com

{ 2 comments }

Mile High Vegan Eats: Indochine

Parker, CO is one of those places you don’t generally go unless you’re visiting someone. It’s a suburb full of strip malls and big box stores and chain restaurants… except for Main St. They have THE CUTEST main street! Independent restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and a great farmer’s market every Sunday.

In fact, a recently established Sunday tradition has been a hike with the dogs near Parker, followed by the farmer’s market and lunch at Indochine Cuisine! Their online menu doesn’t show it, but they actually have the word “vegan” on their IRL menus, which is always a fabulous find. I also love that they serve both Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Having recently visited both countries, I love having the chance to relive my food memories here, haha! The restaurant itself is cute, and has an outdoor balcony right on Main St. so you can sit and watch the traffic go by.

My Number 1 favorite thing to order is the Vegan Drunken Noodles. They’re full of mushrooms and tofu and eggplant and basil and chili peppers, and are just perfect!

Mile High Vegan Eats: Indochine | www.thatwasvegan.com

Another favorite is their Tom Kha Gai soup with tofu. The only milk they use in it is coconut, and it’s 100% vegan! Very creamy, very delicious.

Mile High Vegan Eats: Indochine | www.thatwasvegan.com

I haven’t tried their curry, but my friend Mike did… he ordered the Massaman Tofu Curry Thai Hot and almost died. True story! The man had tears! I tasted a bit on the end of my fork and wanted to cry myself. They re-fired it for him with mild, and it was delicious. So flavorful and still a little bit spicy. The one pictured here is the Thai Hot version, as evidenced by all the red chilies you can see ;)

Mile High Vegan Eats: Indochine | www.thatwasvegan.com

 When it’s hot out the Cucumber Salad is always a hit, full of cukes, carrots and a tasty vinaigrette:

Mile High Vegan Eats: Indochine | www.thatwasvegan.com

So, if you find yourself on the South end of the Denver Metro area and are in the mood for some vegan Thai or Vietnamese food, head on over to Parker! You wont be sorry you did!

Want more Colorado restaurant reviews? Check out my Mile High Vegan Eats page!

{ 1 comment }

Buffalo Tofu n’ Corn Salad

 

Buffalo Tofu n' Corn Salad | www.thatwasvegan.comYou wouldn’t know it from my Recipes page, but I do eat a lot of salads. I just don’t tend to photograph and blog them. My bad, but it’s something I’m working on. Starting right here, right now, with this Buffalo Tofu n’ Corn Salad, I promise to post more healthy salad-y meals. K?

This is perfect for summer. Marinate some tofu in Franks wing sauce, shuck some corn, and then throw them both on the grill. While they’re cooking you can wash some lettuce and chop some veggies, and voila! Dinner! I served mine with vegan ranch dressing, but if you want to avoid those extra calories you could just do S&P and maybe a tiny bit of extra buffalo sauce. Yum.

The trick is to have perfectly cooked tofu.

Buffalo Tofu n' Corn Salad | www.thatwasvegan.com

I like to grill mine directly on the grates, without messing around with tin foil or anything like that. That way you get the nice black char on there. Just make sure you spray a little bit of non-stick on there first!

And as for the corn, I like to shuck them down to just one or two layers, then soak them for at least 10 minutes. That way you can grill them in the husk without them catching on fire. Fire = bad. Especially when it’s your dinner that’s burning. #wordsofwisdon

Buffalo Tofu n' Corn Salad | www.thatwasvegan.com

Who says salads have to be boring? Not me!

Ok, that’s all I got for ya today. I’m currently in Utah (hopefully having a blast!) and I’ll be back on Wednesday with pictures and who knows what else? Snake bites? Deliverance-type stories? There’s no way to tell for sure, so you better check back in then ;)

Buffalo Tofu n' Corn Salad | www.thatwasvegan.com


Buffalo Tofu n' Corn Salad
Serves 2
An easy and delicious (and hearty!) summer meal!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 block firm tofu
  2. Franks buffalo sauce
  3. 1 ear of corn
  4. 4 cups (or so) lettuce
  5. Veggies of choice (I used cukes, red bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, and avocado)
  6. S&P
  7. Vegan ranch, if desired
Instructions
  1. Press your tofu and slice into quarters. Slather with Franks and let marinade for at least an hour (or longer!) Shuck the corn down to just one or two layers and soak in cold water.
  2. Grill the tofu over medium heat for ~15 minutes each side, or until it's just the way you like it. The corn usually takes about 20 minutes on medium.
  3. While those are cooking, wash the lettuce and chop your vegetables. Slice the corn off the ear and cube the tofu. Sprinkle both over the salad and top with either S&P, more buffalo sauce, or vegan ranch... or all three! It's your salad ;)
Notes
  1. You could stretch the tofu to cover 3-4 salads if you like, but I'd add another ear of corn if you're doing that. And more salad too, of course!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
{ 3 comments }

Cheater Cherry Pie Bites

It’s cherry season, which means cherry pie. Or, in this case, my Vegan Cheater Cherry Pie Bites!

Cheater Cherry Pie Bites | www.thatwasvegan.com

Because really? Who wants to heat up their kitchen when it’s already hot out, when you can just cheat and keep it super simple? You already put in all that work pitting the darn things, there’s no need to torture yourself further. Of course, my pitting sesh wasn’t too bad… I did it sitting outside in the shade, listening to music and drinking something full of gin.

Cheater Cherry Pie Bites | www.thatwasvegan.com

And speaking of pitting, if you don’t have a pitter, check out this post on other ways to do it. I tried the straw method first, and it worked (sorta), but I had to keep grabbing new straws because once you bend it, it never works as good. I had the best luck using a small bamboo skewer! I’d poke a hole in one end of the cherry, the go in the through the other side and push the pit right out, using the flat end of the skewer. Worked like a charm!

Cheater Cherry Pie Bites | www.thatwasvegan.com

Once they’re pitted, you cook them on the stove, just as you would if you were going to fill a pie crust. When they’re done, you simply spoon a bit into into those wonderful little pre-made frozen phyllo dough cups, and serve! Ta-da!

Cheater Cherry Pie Bites | www.thatwasvegan.com

Now go forth and pit some cherries and make yourself some bites. And have a fabulous weekend! I’ll be in Utah floating in a canoe down the Green River, drinking beer and reapplying sun block every 30 seconds… I promise to bring back lots of pics :)


 

Cheater Cherry Pie Bites
When you're craving cherry pie but don't want the hassle of a pie... make cheater bites!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2lbs cherries, pitted
  2. 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  3. 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
  4. Zest and juice from 1/2 a lime
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 2 boxes mini fillo shells (Athens is a great brand)
Instructions
  1. Mix everything together (except the shells, haha!) in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon into the shells and serve warm or room temperature.
  2. For crispier bites, follow the package instructions to bake the shells for a few minutes first.
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
 

{ 5 comments }

Spicy Hawaiian Chickpea Burgers

Spicy Hawaiian Chickpea Burgers | www.thatwasvegan.com

Here’s something you might not know about me: I’m a nerd. A really LISTY nerd. I make lists for everything. It’s possible that I even have a list cataloging my lists… not that I’d admit to it! One of the lists I keep is my ‘Idea Hopper’. It’s a list of recipe ideas and I keep it as a Google doc so I can update it whenever inspiration hits. It’s broken down by category (appetizers, salads, soups, etc) and is about 4 pages long.

Yah. I have a lot of ideas.

Where do they come from? All sorts of places! Sometimes it’s simply a new flavor combination that pops into my head, or it might be a variation of something I see on a menu or even one of those cooking shows (which I’m addicted to!). The interesting thing is that some ideas get turned into recipes fairly quickly, while some languish on there for months or even years. I don’t see much rhyme or reason, other than I go through phases where I only want to attempt easier recipes, and of course seasonality.

Oddly enough, these Spicy Hawaiian Chickpea Burgers have been on that list forever. I actually made them last July for Jamie’s birthday dinner, but didn’t take pictures so I couldn’t post them. I finally made them again a couple weeks ago, and this time managed to get a few shots – although I screwed it up yet again… I forgot to take a shot with the Sriracha! #BloggerFail

Spicy Hawaiian Chickpea Burgers | www.thatwasvegan.com 

These are great for summer, especially with the pineapple topping. As with all my burger recipes, they can be cooked in the oven, on the stove or on the grill (my personal go-to method). They’re a little spicy and a little sweet, and maybe if you serve them in your backyard with a couple tiki torches you’ll be able to trick yourself into believing you’re actually IN Hawaii!

Spicy Hawaiian Chickpea Burgers | www.thatwasvegan.com

 


 

Spicy Hawaiian Chickpea Burgers
Yields 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  2. 1/2 red bell pepper
  3. 1/2 sweet onion
  4. 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  5. 2 teaspoons teriyake sauce
  6. 1 tablespoon pineapple juice
  7. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  8. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/2 cup bread crumbs (plus more if needed)
  10. S&P to taste
  11. 4-5 Buns
  12. Vegan cheese (I used Daiya Pepper Jack)
  13. 4-5 pineapple rings
  14. Sriracha sauce
Instructions
  1. Mix the chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water in a small cup or bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut the pepper and onion into large chunks, and place in food processor. Pulse 2-3 times, then add all the other ingredients, chia seeds last. Pulse a few more times until everything is mashed together. You don't want any really big pieces but you also don't want the mixture to be liquified. Add S&P and more breadcrumbs if the mix is to wet. Refrigerate for at least a couple hours.
  3. When you're ready to cook, separate the mix into 4-5 patties depending on the size of your buns.
  4. If you’re grilling, I recommend foil or a veggie tray- but baking is super awesome too. Spray a little cooking spray on a baking sheet, and give these babies about 20 minutes (10-12 each side) in a 375 degree oven. I like to finish mine under the broiler for just a few moments, to get that charred look that you get on the grill. Top with cheese for the last couple minutes. You can also grill the pineapple!!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
{ 6 comments }

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity!

If you’re vegan and you live anywhere near Denver, you fall into one of two categories. You’ve either been to Hong Phat, or you need to get your butt there ASAP! Well, assuming you’re a vegan who eats mock meat, that is…

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity! | www.thatwasvegan.com

Vegan drumsticks, anyone? How about a big ol’ ham roll?

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity! | www.thatwasvegan.com

Please don’t pick on the ham roll. There are two of those in my freezer right now!  But seriously, there are at least 15-20 vegan versions of meat and seafood in their freezer section. They also have tons of canned and packaged products marked vegan. And, because it is an Asian market, they also have tons of dead fish lying around, so it’s stinky. You can just bypass those and head straight to the frozen vegan section though (along the back wall, straight ahead and to your left when you walk through the door!). Have questions? The man who always seems to be working the cash register to your right when you first walk in is vegetarian, and he’ll help you out :)

Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of the shrimp balls or the citrus sparerib cutlets (yes, seriously), but I did manage to get shots of some other goodies, below. I was never a big seafood eater in my pregan days, but I kind of want to try some of these out!

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity! | www.thatwasvegan.com

Well, not the vegan eel… But maybe the lobster sticks?

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity! | www.thatwasvegan.com

Or the ham slices?

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity! | www.thatwasvegan.com

Or the shredded crab meat, or hot pot?

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity! | www.thatwasvegan.com

Hong Phat Supermarket: Vegan Insanity! | www.thatwasvegan.com

So yah, if you’re into vegan mock meats, this place is totally your jam. Even if you’re not, it’s still fun to visit and gawk at all the crazy stuff! They’re at 1001 S. Federal, in the same strip mall as Lotus Vegetarian (which as of this post has a “closed for remodeling” sign in the window. Sadz.)

{ 12 comments }

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top!

I did it!

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

 Not to brag, but I’m pretty proud of myself. This was my first 14er, and not only did I summit but I did it in really good time: 2.5 hours! (And while wearing hiking shoes that are both pink and vegan, so there’s that.)

Ok, let’s start at the beginning. We were up at 3:30, out of the house by 4:30, and made it to Guanella Pass just after 6. We put on our gear, made one last pit stop (no trees up there to squat behind!) and were on the trail at 6:15.

You actually start off downhill, and have to cross a creek before you get to the real trail. I was pretty sure I was going to get soaked. Seriously, this was the most stressful part of the hike for me, for some reason. It took me like 5 minutes to build up the courage to step onto that log!

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

You can see from the picture that people were queuing up, which I was happy for. It gave me a minute to clear my head and stop panicking. On the way back down the log had been washed away, so I just had to hop on the rocks. I was so tired by that point and my feet felt like dirt clods, so I’m surprised I didn’t fall in!

After the creek was when the ascent began. It was a rocky trail but mostly dirt at first, which was nice. Steep though! Lots of pretty wild flowers…

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

After about 90 minutes it got real steep and real rocky. Very challenging, especially when you can see the final portion of the climb that you know is waiting for you…

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

When I got to this point I actually felt pretty good. I was like “Yay, almost done!”. Little did I know how difficult scrambling over all those rocks would be… (Those are just morning hazy clouds, BTW, not storm clouds. It was barely 8:30am when I took this shot)

15 minutes later I was at the top. Finally!

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

The view was amazing and there was a party atmosphere up there, everyone talking and laughing with each other. So much fun!

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

We only stayed up there for about 15 minutes, long enough to share a PB&J and take a bunch of pictures. It was really windy and cold, and I was ready to get back down before it got more crowded. There’s something about standing on what is basically a pile of rocks at 14,000 that makes you not want to fall off the edge, you know?

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

As we headed back down the sun came out in full force and it was AMAZING! I’m sure the people that were still huffing and puffing their way UP weren’t so thrilled about it, but I was. They also may have been annoyed by the huge smile on my face, haha. There’s nothing worse than knowing the hardest part of your workout is still ahead of you, and seeing someone who’s already finished and is headed back downhill. I’m joking, mostly… but I will say that I’m glad we started so early, we only passed a handful of people when we were on our way up that had already summited. And anyway, everyone is just SO friendly! There’s such a sense of camaraderie among these hearty hiking types. Everyone is willing to share some gu, powerade, or just a word of encouragement. It was such a great experience.

Look at all the people still heading up!

Mt Bierstadt: From the Top | www.thatwasvegan.com

Our total time was just under 5 hours. 2.5 to the summit, about 15 at the top, and less than 2 hours back down. The rest was breaks. Most of our breaks on the way up were just 30 second breathers, but on the way down I actually sat on a rock in the sun and just enjoyed the view for a while, it was great.

We stopped in Georgetown for a beer and some yummy vegan mexican food, and then we were home by 2! I was tired but still loaded the dogs up and took them to the dog park for a while, then it was back home to collapse on the couch with a bottle of wine. A pretty perfect day :D

And now, like most people that have bagged their first 14er, I’m ready for the next one! I’m thinking about a moonlight climb up Grays and Torreys next month during the Super Moon, so we can watch the sunrise from the top of the world. Sounds great, right?

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Tango Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa | www.thatwasvegan.com

Happy Friday, my friends! We’ve made it through another work week, and tomorrow is the day I climb my first 14er. Wish me luck! I promise to report back next week with pictures and everything, including (if all goes well, knock on wood) a shot of me at the summit, holding my awesome summit sign. I know it’ll be challenging, but at least that high up we wont have to deal with the ridiculous heat we’ve been having, like this nonsense:

Mango Salsa | www.thatwasvegan.com

And then, the next week? I’m heading to Utah for a 4-day canoe trip down the Green River! I’m super excited about that trip. I’ve never been on any multi-day river trip, but I’m told this one is amazeballs, and I’ve looked at other people’s pictures online and it looks amazing.

In the meantime, I’m just hanging around, eating awesome vegan food… Like these grilled avocados:

Mango Salsa | www.thatwasvegan.com

Which morphed into these tacos:

Mango Salsa | www.thatwasvegan.com

And yes, those bad boys will be getting their own post, I promise! In the meantime, I have some super delicious salsa for you. Making your own salsa is surprisingly easy as long as you have a food processor or fairly good blender.

The fun part is mixing and matching your ingredients based on what’s on sale! That’s how this particular salsa was born, when I saw that mangoes were on sale for like $1 a couple weeks ago. I snacked on it a bit with tortilla chips, but it’s ultimate destination was atop some nicely grilled tofu. Perfection! You can also make it a little bit thinner, and it’ll be a great marinade as well.

So check your local grocery ads to see what’s on sale, then pull out your food processor and get started! You can put virtually anything in your salsa (strawberries, anyone?) and it’s easy to adjust the heat based on your tastes. So whatcha waiting for??


Tango Mango Salsa
Homemade salsa is waaay better than the jarred stuff!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 mango
  2. 2 jalapenos
  3. 1 small onion
  4. 2 cups chopped pineapple (canned or fresh, but if it's canned you'll want to drain it)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (plus more to taste)
Instructions
  1. Peel the mango, and roughly chop it. Chop the jalapenos and onions. They don't need to be perfect, everything is going in the food processor, but you do want them to be roughly the same size.
  2. Add to the food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until just slightly chunky, then taste and add more salt or chili powder as needed. Keep in mind that as the jalapeno bits stew in there, their heat will spread a bit.
  3. If you're planning to use this as a marinade, keep pulsing until it's smooth and thinned out, otherwise you're done!
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