Thanks to your helpful suggestions, we had hiking on the brain this morning!
Eric and I headed over to Pinnacle Peak for a 3.75 mile there-and-back trek along the mountains. Tomorrow, we have Camelback Mountain on the agenda which many of you raved about. Opportunities for hiking are everywhere around here! We’ve never hiked along this kind of desert terrain before and it’s incredible to see.
First we filled up our tanks. My mom made us these juicy fruit parfaits to go along with our breakfast fare.
I had another Green Monster made up of kale, frozen banana, blueberries, protein powder, almond milk, and ice. Unfortunately I found out that the Maranatha dark chocolate almond butter isn’t vegan like I thought, so that was left out this time. I think I got it mixed up with Justin’s chocolate almond butter in all my sleep deprivation excitement.
If you are looking for a vegan dark chocolate almond butter recipe, you are in luck because I made one last year that tastes incredible!
Green moustache ensued.
The trail was challenging, but not overly so (rated “moderate”), wrapping all along the sides of a couple summits with some butt-busting inclines. My glutes were actually sore by the end of the 3.75 mile hike! Buns of steel here I come.
After wrapping the side of the first summit, we looked over to the second and said, “We’re going all the way over there too?”
Yes, yes we were.
It’s always fun to reach the peak of the trail.
Mad respect for the Saguaro.
The hike took about 1 hour and 20 minutes (including photography) and boy did we work up an appetite in the process.
We enjoyed Holiday Soup for the Soul for a comforting post hike lunch!
Along with buns, apples, leftover tomato salad, hummus, and celery/carrots.
And an apple + dark chocolate squares for dessert.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and catching up! It’s been a while since we’ve been able to spend this much time together, so it’s been nice to visit with my parents.
Dinner was filled with an array of roasted vegetables, along with something that I often overlook- couscous! I always forget how much I enjoy couscous, especially when paired with sautéed greens and mushrooms.
We adapted the roasted vegetable dish from the Whitewater Cooks Cookbook. It’s filled with roasted zucchini, red peppers, eggplant, yams, purple cauliflowers, beets, fennel, basil, and parsnip, all coated in a balsamic maple dressing. We weren’t thrilled about the cup of oil that the original recipe called for so I just mixed the dressing ingredients to taste. I ended up using 1/3-1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette, 3-4 tbsp maple syrup, 4 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbsp olive oil, and1/2 tsp kosher salt, pepper. The outcome was a sweet maple balsamic dressing that paired well with the roasted veggies…no cup of oil required.
and the couscous with sautéed spinach and button mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. I could eat bowls and bowls of this simple dish. Mom, John, and Eric also has some BBQ’d chicken to go along with dinner.
Now we’re sitting here debating whether to catch a movie at the theatre tonight. Anyone see any good movies lately?
I hiked Pinnacle yesterday too! Glad you’re enjoying your time in beautiful AZ!
Oh awesome stuff! It was fun…and not too hot which was nice :)
I love the pictures with the great big cacti! I haven’t been anywhere with that sort of terrain since I was too little to remember, but it makes me want to go!
I have a cous cous dish on the menu for this week for the first time in ages, and your pictures and description make me even more anxious to eat it!
Glad you are getting some time away, and time with your mom. Enjoy!
We saw “We Bought a Zoo” over the holidays! I wasn’t that interested in it but my husband really wanted to go and we both loved it! It’s a heart-warming feel good flick!
Love those pictures! We always say we’re going to retire to Arizona!!
I am so, so jealous of your hike!! It makes me ache for winter to be over and to get out west!!
And of course, as always, the food looks incredible too. :)
The hiking looks simply beautiful. Enjoy.
Have always wanted to see Arizona but was told there are scorpions, tarantulas and rattle snakes everywhere – even on your porches. Always scared to go. Did you see any while hiking? The landscape looks beautiful. The weather looks really nice too.
The Iron Lady is supposed to be good as well as Tinker Taylor. Go to the Ipic theatre, its really cool and in Scottsdale. Its a modern take on the old school movie theatres where you can get a glass of wine or some food brought to you during the movie!
Hey I noticed that you’ve been really into the tea lately. Have you ever worked with loose leaf tea? There is an amazing tea shop that has a location in a mall in Phoenix called ‘Teavana’ if you happen to pop by Baltimore Fashion park I was just there last week and they had tons of yummy teas to try, and I know they will be opening locations around Toronto this year too!
I love Teavana (and loose leaf!), but Ive been cheaping out and buying bagged tea lately. I must get some more loose leaf.
love love love hiking in the Phoenix area. My husband actually proposed on Pinnacle Peak. :) Just a little warning – Camelback is a lot more work than Pinnacle. We were told it was a slightly harder trail, I wish I would had a snack to enjoy when we got to the top of Camelback. Have fun!
awww thats so cute! Congrats :)
What a beautiful hike!! And hiking always makes me SO.HUNGRY. Like, more than running for the same amount of time! Weird, right?
I saw Girl with the Dragon Tattoo recently, and thought it was good (the book and Swedish version are better) – but be warned that it is dark and could be pretty disturbing if you don’t know what to expect. I have also heard that the new Sherlock Holmes is very good.
I’m madly in love with your sunglasses!!! What brand are they??
What a gorgeous hike, gorgeous food and a gorgeous DAY!!! WOO HOOO
Go see War Horse…..violence is not gratuitous…..actually very thought provoking and heart warming. Spielberg is a master…….
Anytime I am tempted to eat chicken I will think of this! GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!
(sorry, I had to share)
One of my best friends lives in Phoenix and we’ve hiked Camelback when I’ve been out to visit. It’s probably one of my favorite hikes I’ve been on. There are some incredibly strenuous parts that make you so proud to accomplish, and the views are breathtaking. Enjoy it!
it was amaaaaazing!
SO glad you did it!! I had the exact same feelings going up. Like, WHAT did I get myself into. And then just kicking that mountain’s butt! : )
The food you’re eating looks amazing! YUM.
I went to AZ once on business and it’s a great spot. The landscape is so different from Ontario, it’s incredible. Beautiful, just different. More like a moonscape. And I had no idea that cacti grow so old!
I’m so craving hiking right now. Enjoy!!
What a healthy day all around! You’re good, when I hike I use it as an excuse to stop at a local resteraunt afterwards and restock up on calories, especially if on vacation!
Okay, WHERE did you find those AMAZING sunglasses in your post picture, as well as that white jacket in yesterday’s post that you were wearing on the way to the airport? You have such great style!
Hiking always kicks my hunger into high gear. The food looks amazing. Purple cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies ever!
Looks like it was a great hike. I love fitting in hikes when we vacation. It’s so much better to discover a new place by foot!
Glad to hear you’re having a good time! We LOVED mission impossible. I was very, very surprised by it. So much better than the last one with all the masks and stolen identities. You really don’t need to have watched the previous movies to enjoy this one. It’s an on-the-edge-of-your-seat movie. Definitely worth seeing in theaters.
I have been reading your blog for a few YEARS now and these days I am too busy to keep up every day. I just so happened to check in and find that you are in my CITY! I see you’ve gotten some great recommendations above on places to check out, but I HAVE to tell you about the Phoenix Public Market. They have an open air market on Wednesday evenings beginning at 4PM where they sell local, fresh produce and they cook up some amazing food. Seriously, I don’t think your trip would be complete without a visit to PPM. If you are in town Saturday they do a winter chef series and it’s awesome. Check out their website: http://foodconnect.org/phxmarket/?page_id=25. Camelback will kick your butt, but you will LOVE IT! Glad to see you are in my neck of the woods. Any meet ups while you are in town?
Thank you Jennifer! Not sure about a meet up, if time permits I will certainly announce it on the blog! My mom has a packed schedule so we’ll see. :)
Yayy I’m glad you’re loving our state! :) When you hike Camelback, you should start on the Echo Canyon side. It’s more challenging, but it’s a better hike, in my opinion. ENJOY!! :D
while you are here, you should check out the supreme master ching hai’s vegetarian house (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/22/264675/restaurant/Biltmore-Arcadia/Supreme-Master-Ching-Hai-Vegetarian-House-Phoenix) and true food kitchen (http://www.truefoodkitchen.com/). they are both delish. two of my absolute favorite places to eat!
ps – if you go to the vegetarian house, you must try the seven heaven salad. if you go to true foods, you need to try the tuscan kale sald :) enjoy!
Some restaurant recommendations while you are in the Phoenix area: Green New American Vegetarian Restaurant (although it boasts a menu largely composed of meat analogues, there are some yummy dishes, including the famous TSOYNAMI, which is essentially a vegan Dairy Queen blizzard), True Food Kitchen, and Chakra 4 Herb and Tea House (they have a colossal menu of teas and deliciously fresh salads and wraps that can be made vegan upon request). Happy dining!
Couscous is one of my favorite go-to foods! In the spring, I love to make couscous garbanzo bean salad with spring veggies and a light garlic vinegarette. it’s reeeeeeeeally good!
What fabulous food on vacation! I tend to shy away from really cooking while away (unless it is just my husband and kids and me) as no one else seems to eat like me. It is so wonderful that you all can eat such great, healthy food – and they can add things here or there as needed (meat!). Looks like a wonderful get away – and what great time you and Eric get with your Mom and John. Time like that is a gift to be sure :-)
Those cacti are wonderfully photographed! I want to hike in arizona.. one day. :)
what a dream day! Fun hike and then all the good eats…and then a talk of a movie! My dream day for sure. :)
Ah Camelback is my favorite! Cholla trail is a longer, more interval workout-style trail. Echo is a little shorter, but much steeper! They both meet at the top and are great workouts!
Have a great time. I was in Phoenix last August for the first time ever, I loved it, but didnt get much hiking, as it was 117 degrees!! We did walk up to the rock with a hole in it across from the airport. It was beautiful, but an easy climb :-)
That trail is gorgeous!! I wish we had the weather and parks to go to right now. I’m so jealous of the AZ weather!
I haven’t rented any movies lately, but I’ve heard great things about Moneyball. I think that’s what our Friday night movie! :)
Hi! I have a quick question on your chocolate almond butter. Do you soak your raw almonds before processing them?
Thanks! (I’ll be in Phoenix in a couple weeks. I may take your same hike if I have the time – looks amazing!)
Hi Robin, No I didnt soak them. Enjoy!
Goodness it looks beautiful there! The food doesn’t look too bad either. ;-) I haven’t seen too many movies, but I thought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was very good (but intense). I also saw Hugo a couple days ago and thought it was pretty good!
So glad you decided to do Camelback! It’s a blast.
Also, if you get a chance, there’s some great Ethiopian food places nearby.
Perfect for post-hike fuel :)
Enjoy your travels.
Hello from Tucson! I was in Tempe last week, and ate at this new place – Pomegranate Cafe. Vegan, some raw, lots of juices, and tons of delish deserts!
I saw the new Mission Impossible and it’s pretty fun.
That hiking trail looks like such a great place to be. The meals you made sound great. I love parfaits of fruit and soy yogurt with granola on top. YUM.
I’ve been reading your blog for YEARS so it was super cool to see somewhere that I recognized!!! I hiked that same peak on a road trip from Florida to Cali two summers ago! :D
Welcome to AZ!
Where did you find the purple cauliflower?? I live in Gilbert (part of the Phoenix valley). If you hike Camelback tomorrow, be sure to hike the Echo Canyon side. It is definitely my favorite! Not to mention, quite the challenge. You will get to parts and think… “Are you SERIOUS?!” It is fun! If your going to be here much longer, and are looking for one more good and long hike try Flat Iron. It is at the Superstitions, the east part of the valley. It is fun and extremely steep! The view is awesome from the top!! It takes a few hours but is worth it! My husband and I were actually talking about hiking it this week too. Have fun while your here!!!
I love Pinnacle Peak!! My aunt lives right by there and we always go hiking there and at Camelback whenever we go to visit!!! Such beautiful places! Looks like you guys are eating well at your moms house!!! I am seriously drooling over every meal you post about!!
You should go to Green on Scottsdale Rd in Tempe!!!! I highly recommend the spinach artichoke dip. Mmmmm!
Looks like such a lovely vacation! “War Horse” was fantastic! I am a huge fan of your writing and recipes. You are definitely an artist in every sense…an artist of tastes and colors and words. I became a vegan last October and finding your website was a blessing. Thank you for being you and for encouraging us all to glow from the inside out. :-)
When you are visiting Sedona you MUST go to the Enchantment Resort and have lunch, or at least a prickly pear margharita in their lounge. The views from the restaurant are spectacular. Also, try to tour the spa – it is incredibly beautiful.
I love that you got to have so many fun hiking adventures!
Hey Angela! I love your green monster recipe my bf and I make one every morning! I want to start adding protein to my smoothie and was wondering what kind of protein powder you use. Thanks!! and I love your blog :)
Thanks Eva! I use Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder right now & im loving it! It’s not sweetened though, so you will need to add frozen banana or whatnot to smoothies.
Ahhh!!! Pinnacle Peak is where my family and I hike most often. You are truly making me miss home with these recaps, but they are beautiful. I’m so glad you had a good trip in my favorite state!
I was so excited to see this post! We have a place in Arizona, and one of the first things we do every trip is go to Pinnacle Peak!