Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Restaurant Review: Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe New Mexico

by Kristen Suzanne in food journal, grass fed beef, omnivore, review
Cast Iron Seared Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Steak Au Poivre #CoyoteCafe Santa Fe NM

Cast Iron Seared Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Steak Au Poivre #CoyoteCafe

We recently enjoyed a summer road trip all the way to Michigan from Arizona. Yes, that’s a looooong trip which is why many people ask why we don’t fly. Well, to be honest, apart from kind of enjoying time in the car (I get a lot of reading done: here’s a great book), there’s an important factor with which I am obsessed: Food. By traveling in the car (our mini van, specifically), I can pack things from my kitchen so that I can cook on the road for my family (induction hot plate, anyone?). As I like to say, “have induction hot plate, will travel.” Eating healthy and delicious food is my main passion so I do whatever it takes to make that happen.

We ventured to Michigan because that is where I grew up, and my brother, his wife, and their kids are there, plus my dad, step-dad, and dear sister-in-law-ish. At the time of our journey, our daughter had just turned four years old, and that meant shorter stretches of driving. Therefore, our days in the car maxed out at around 7 hours, if we could help it. That means lots of nights in hotels. How did I make high-quality, Real Food on the trip in hotels? It was fairly simple… with smart planning. I’ll detail it all in a blog post soon because I have a lot to share on the topic. I’ve made the trip twice now, a bit different each trip, and I like to think I have it figured out.

We didn’t eat every single meal as homemade though. Some of our meals, although just a couple, were enjoyed in restaurants. Enter: Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, NM.

On the trip back from Michigan we decided to spend a couple of days in Santa Fe as a little break from the non-stop driving and to enjoy the local atmosphere of Santa Fe. So lovely.

Coyote Cafe 

One of the best meals of my life. And to think I almost opted for a different restaurant because of the Yelp Review stars I saw. Glad my husband urged us to go to Coyote Cafe. Greg had been there about 20 years ago (the place has been around about 27 years), and was itching to try it again.

The presentation of the meals was gorgeous and thoughtful. The decor of the restaurant was open and pleasing, artful, and chic although a bit dated. It is showing the years of wear and is overdue for a refresh.

The service was top of the line. Our server was Lynsey and she catered to our every need. I’d also like to mention that the support staff were equally great. So much of a restaurant experience goes beyond the food.

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Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Immortal Machine – Protein Shake – I LOVE YOU

by Kristen Suzanne in chocolate, hemp protein, review, vegan

Immortal Machine

Immortal Machine by David Wolfe

The new plant-powered protein powder in my life.

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Edit: 12/5/12 I recently had a canister that tasted a bit off (bitter, smoky-ish) compared to how lovely the previous ones had been. Then, my mom said the same thing, and a reader of my blog said the same thing… had a bitter experience. ;) Well, go figure I’d rave about something and then there might have been an issue in their quality control. I’ve had foods with shilajit in them and I get the sense that maybe they had a batch with too much of that in it? Not that that would be terrible since its reputation is great but it changes the taste and then that changes the experience. Or maybe they forgot the stevia? Not sure. Still, I wanted to tell my readers about that. Since I have multiple canisters though, I opened another and it was great like usual.

Edit: 12/12/12 I heard back from Longevity Warehouse and it turns out I was right. They used a different shilajit in a batch, and although it was high quality, it changed the flavor. It seems they’re back to using the standard shilajit they normally use. Whew!

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There’s a new protein powder on the block that I’m regularly buying now, and I’m a raving fan. (That’s an understatement.)

If you haven’t heard of Immortal Machine, then you’re missing out. It’s a fabulous new vegan protein powder that knocks it out of the park in flavor and health promoting properties.

It’s so good on its own that I usually just mix it up with water and it tastes like fudgescicles. Or, I make it with iced organic peppermint tea … Thin Mint Cookies, anyone?  That’s probably my favorite way to have it (mom’s favorite way, too). In fact, I’ve turned quite a few friends and family on to Immortal Machine and the response is always the same. “Whoa! That’s awesome. I’ve never had a protein powder that was so good!”

Even though this protein powder needs no hiding and it’s fabulous with just water or iced peppermint tea blended in… being the chef that I am, I’ve played with other recipes for fun. I heard tales of its deliciousness with nut milk and they were true – creamy and dreamy. I added Chinese Five Spice once, too. That was good. I also knew it’d be brilliant stirred into chia pudding and porridge… yup. In fact, adding this to my Longevity Chia Porridge recipe is smart. I’ve also used Immortal Machine in a medicinal-energizing-herbal-tonic elixir by blending it with soaked goji and longan berries. Whoa. That was intense, in a most amazing way. I was feeling the power all day. I also love blending Immortal Machine into warm drinks and it’s like hot chocolate. It seems the options of deliciousness are endless.

Those variations are all fun, but I think my favorite way is with plain ol’ water or iced organic peppermint tea (I’ve always been, and will forever be, a mint chocolate girl). Friends, I’m telling you, as it bears repeating… this stuff is a-mazing.

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Monday, June 4th, 2012

Reviews: Core Foods, Living Nutz, Essential Living Foods, and Love Bean

by Kristen Suzanne in review

Hello everyone!

Can I just say HALLELUJAH for all of the great raw, vegan, organic options we have available to us these days? Every where I turn, there are new products sprouting up and it sure makes living this awesome lifestyle THAT much easier. Whether you’re all raw, mostly raw, partly raw, or barely raw… there are some kick ass options available for healthy snacking or for the busy mama, like myself who needs all the help I can get. I’m grateful.

Kamea... ready to play, no time for mama to make breakfast (she already had hers in bed because she nursed). Hmmm, this mama needs something easy cuz I'm hungry! Read on...

Today, I’m reviewing four companies and sharing with you how I use them in my life. Core Foods, Living Nutz, Essential Living Foods, and Love Bean. Let’s begin!

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Monday, February 27th, 2012

My Latest Favorite Beauty Face Cream (& other beauty products by Pristine Beauty)

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, body care, review

I have a favorite new face cream (I’m always trying beauty products – seems there are new eco-friendly and non-toxic companies sprouting up all the time – see some of my other past favorites here… It’s Pristine Beauty’s Hooray for Brallywood Butta. It is fabulous.

Hooray for Brallywood Butta

Let me back up a bit and tell you how I came about this cute little company. I saw Sarma (from Pure Food n Wine) update her Facebook status that she was excited about their hair products. Since Sarma colors her hair, I figured this was a vetted hair system to check out. Typically, I am a fan of Morrocco Method’s super natural products, but they’re not a great fit for colored hair – boo! – so I had to find something new. After checking out some things on Sarma’s website, I went to Pristine Beauty’s website to research more.

Enter: Hooray for Brallywood ButtaI actually ordered a bunch of things after researching each product (or its ingredients) on EWG’s Skin Deep website.

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Friday, February 3rd, 2012

3 Book Reviews: Vegan Primer, Raw Travel, and Vegan Pregnancy

by Kristen Suzanne in review

Today, I’m sharing three great books that I recommend for your library. One is a fun ebook about travel in the raw, one is a great primer on plant-based nutrition, and the third one is a super guide for pursuing a vegan pregnancy. So! Let’s get started!

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Monday, January 16th, 2012

Review: Tribest Life’s Sedona Dehydrator

by Kristen Suzanne in review

I’ve always been a big fan of Excalibur dehydrators because I’ve had mine for years. I even feature them in my Easy Raw Vegan Dehydrating book. But, times change and new products are introduced to the market. Imagine my excitement when TriBest Life wanted me to check out their new Sedona dehydrator. I’m always up for trying new kitchen appliances. Excitement aside, I remember being a tad skeptical at first. I thought to myself, “Yeah, um… the Sedona dehydrator might be as good as Excalibur, but surely not better, right?” After all, most people own Excalibur and it’s been a force to be reckoned with for a long time. However, as I read over the Sedona dehydrator’s marketing materials, I was impressed, excited, and eager to try this new beauty! Turns out… rightly so.

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Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Review: Rawtella – Two Thumbs Up!

by Kristen Suzanne in raw chocolate, review

I frequently get asked to review products on my blog and I’m happy to do so. It gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts on new products – good or bad.

Well, the makers of Rawtella contacted me about reviewing their product, Rawtella. It arrived Wednesday and I thought, “Oh ok, I’ll have some tonight and add it to my food journal I’m planning on posting later in the week.” (By the way, did you see that on the top of my blog I now have a tab for “food journal” – I get asked many times for samples of what I eat so now you have one place to access many of my food journals. I haven’t updated it to include everything, but I’m working on it.)

Anyway. I sampled the Rawtella and OMG – yum! I knew I had to do more than talk about it in my food journal. This delicious treat deserved its own post. Rawtella is a jar of a chocolate spread made from 3 ingredients: Organic raw, soaked, and dehydrated hazelnuts, organic raw cacao nibs, and raw coconut sugar. It’s mostly organic and will be all organic soon. They’re waiting for the coconut sugar to go through the final steps of becoming certified organic.

Rawtella is 100% Raw – yeehaw! Friends, when raw is this good, it’s impossible not to be happy and satisfied eating raw vegan. Rawtella can be enjoyed by itself on a spoon, used on ice cream, in smoothies and nut milks, spread on fruit or crepes, and more.

I had a gigantic spoonful of it – it was creamy, dreamy, decadent, sweet, rich, satisfying, luscious, and I wanted to eat the whole damn jar. Now, you might be wondering if this chocolate stuff is like the popular Nutella that is on the market. Honestly, I don’t know because I’ve never tried that.

I enthusiastically give this product two thumbs up. I will be stocking up on it. Try it and come back to let me know if you agree! Available at Rawtella.com.

Let me add…. this is a GREAT gift. It’s perfect for your postal carrier, your hair dresser, your BFF, your mom, your skeptical-steak-chomping-pill-popping-dad (oh wait, that’s my dad). You know anyone who could use a little chocolate love in his or her life? Give them a jar of Rawtella. It’s perfect!

UPDATE! Ooh – Yippee! The generous folks at Rawtella are offering a 25% off coupon code “if you like the rawtella fan page!” They said, once you “like it” it will reveal the coupon code. Score!!!

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Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Review: Earth Source Organic’s Righteously Raw CHOCOLATE!

by Kristen Suzanne in review

Eureka! I’m in heaven. I was at Whole Foods today buying some Raw granola from Go Raw. As I stood in the “raw foods aisle” I found myself in a sudden frenzy for some organic raw vegan chocolate. I noticed a new (at least new to me) chocolate bar company, Earth Source Organics. They have these Righteously Raw Cacao Bars: Righteously Raw Goji Cacao Bar and Righteously Raw Caramel Cacao Bar. I picked up the caramel since that was the most unique (there aren’t many “caramel” things in the raw food universe). I carefully read the label. Hhmmm I see the words, “90% Cacao Bar” and “Righteously Raw” and “USDA Organic” on the front, and so I’m getting excited. My spirit is grinning. I flip the bar over to ensure it’s “raw-ness” and I read the ingredients:

100% Raw Ingredients: Organic Cacao Butter, Organic Cacao Powder, Organic Bahri Dates, Organic Lucuma Fruit, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Vanilla Bean, Himalayan Pink Salt


Loooove those ingredients. I adore the fact that there are dates in it and that the agave nectar ingredient isn’t featured as one of the first few ingredients. By that time, I was almost tap dancing in the aisle. I tore into it. I tried a bite. I was impressed at its richness and the fact that it’s truffle like. But it was about 10 seconds when it really hit me. I had to have more. I ate the whole bar. I decided to buy the Goji Cacao Bar as well. They have a Maca flavor, and I admit I’m intrigued because I’m so impressed with the Caramel, but y’all know I am not a fan of the maca flavor in general (plus I’m choosing to stay away from maca while I’m pregnant). Later though, I plan on trying it.



Only now as I write this review do I see that there are 3 servings per bar (oops! lol). I am a tad regretful at having eaten the whole thing. But, it was so damn good! Oh! Wait! That means I also had 3 grams of protein. See how I rationalize? Now, I’m actually sitting here contemplating opening another one. No! Kristen! One is enough. Monkey will be doing backflips all day if I do. OK! I’ve gotten past the urge to have another. After all, they are 6 bucks a piece. BUT! When it comes to quality organic raw ingredients… sticker shock never lasts for long because it’s worth it. I’M WORTH IT! My health is worth it. The Caramel Cacao Bar is probably my favorite chocolate bar on the market. I love the texture of the slight crunch as it breaks open to reveal a rich softness inside. I love the flavor. I love how I felt my inner child smile when I ate each bite.

When I arrived home, I checked out their website and saw this on the page about the Caramel Cacao Bar:

All our chocolate bars are certified to be Organic, Kosher, Vegan, and Gluten Free. They are made entirely from raw, high frequency foods and retain their raw state throughout the entire process from raw ingredients to finished product.  No refined sugars are used and everything is processed in a nut free facility.

OK OK – I had to try the Goji bar so I could review it right now, which meant tasting it, in spite of my having eaten the whole Caramel Cacao Bar earlier. I twisted my own arm! The Goji Cacao Bar is awesome, too. My kind of chocolate: rich, raw, awesomely-firm-and-love-how-it-breaks-upon-biting-it texture on the outside, and super fun chewy consistency on the inside. What a TREAT!!!!!


I’m a huge raving fan of these organic raw vegan chocolate bars. Score for Earth Source Organics. You officially have a loyal fan!
UPDATE: I realize that it can seem harsh to pay $6 a bar (especially when you want to have a few a week). BUT! Here’s the thing. There are many people (myself included years ago) who don’t bat an eye at spending $5 on a specialty coffee drink (daily! ehem… sometimes 2-3 times a day!). Spending a buck more and getting something MUCH more nutritious, all organic, all raw, and all made with love is fine by me. 

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Thursday, January 15th, 2009

I’m Cheating on My Blendtec… Oh My!

by Kristen Suzanne in review

I’m having an affair with a Vita-Mix 5200. Am I ashamed? Well, it’s hard to be when you experience this awesome piece of machinery. For many years, I’ve had both a Blendtec and a Professional Series Vita-Mix blender, and I’ve always told people that both are great, but if I had to pick one, I would have gone for the Blendtec. The primary reasons for me being that it fits neatly on my counter (under the cupboard – due to its overall height being shorter than the Vita-Mix) and because it’s easier to scrape food out from the bottom due to its two-pronged blade vs. the 4-pronged Vita-Mix blade. I’ve had both side by side all these years and I always just went to use the Blendtec. I figured that meant it was my blender of choice, not realizing that I was probably partial to the machine since I had it first and was very comfortable with it.

Well, all that has changed now. I recently got my hot little hands on the new Vita-Mix 5200 and immediately fell in love. First of all, the container is BPA-free (Hello! BPA-FREE!) with improved sound dampening so it’s not crazy loud. Secondly, obviously the blender is powerful, reliable, and awesome. Thirdly, the warranty kicks butt! Vita-Mix offers a 7-year warranty on both the container and base (under normal household use), while Blendtec offers a measly 3-year warranty on the base and only 1 year on the container (this is important for me which I’ll detail in a moment). There are other improvements in the Vita-Mix which make it easier to use such as the new lid (now it’s super easy to take on and off). Finally, the Vita-Mix has excellent customer service, which is important to me and always weighs heavily in the equation of whether I buy a product. I still feel like the food (most notably Raw cheeses and dips) are a little easier to get out of the Blendtec container, but not so much that I would now choose the Blendtec over Vitamix.

I wrote that the warranty was important earlier, as well as customer service. Regarding my Blendtec, I’ve recently not had the best experience. My Blendtec started blending at an unbelievably loud pitch. So loud you must plug your ears or it pieces them with pain. When I attempted contact with Blendtec about this – three times! – I received no response. After researching their website about the warranty, I read that my container was only under a 1 year warranty (testing the Blendtec’s sound with and without the container leads me to believe that it’s the container causing the new nasty noise). On top of that, my mom’s Blendtec (much newer than mine, but still over a year old) is doing the same thing!

My Blendtec (container noise problem) and new Vita-Mix 5200 experience both occurred within the last couple of months, and I wanted to share it with you, since for so long I’ve been saying, “They’re both great, but I’m a Blendtec gal.” Not so much anymore.

Move over Blendtec, it’s time for something greater! Vita-Mix 5200, you’ve won my heart.

UPDATE: I have updated my thoughts on the two blenders here.

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