Blog

Garden, Updates

Hang In There

I know with my last few posts it’s more than apparent that I’m in full swing for Spring. It started back in February for me while I planted hundreds and thousands of herbs, geraniums, and other beautiful plant babies. I’ve since added new items to the shop, got vaccinated, had three interviews and articles come out about made by laura lee, paid off my truck, and still found time to enjoy being back in New England. Sometimes the hustle and bustle can be a little exhausting, but it’s all so rewarding that I don’t really mind.

In fact, it’s amazing to look back at the little plant babies in February, versus now. Hanging baskets are now cascading from their pots, herbs are towering over their little containers waiting to be cooked with, and the geranium flowers are almost fluorescent against their backdrop of green leaves. I’m grateful each and every day to not only be playing in the dirt, but also still be able to maintain made by laura lee.

Admittedly, it’s not sunshine and rainbows all the time, because you can’t have those without a little rain. But even on those days that are overcast and overwhelming, it’s always nice to know that sun will always come back. I know I’m not the only one that gets that feeling like they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, whether you’re still working from home, homeschooling from home, waiting for work to start back up, or really whatever is going on in the midst of waiting for this damn pandemic to pass, you’ve got someone there for you. Even if you think you don’t, you do. Reach out no matter how hard. Hang in there.

We’ve all told someone to hang in there. The fact of the matter is that I tell myself that everyday. I tell my friends to hang in there often as well. We’re all hanging in there together and I made this “Hang In There” Hoop for a friend to express just that. You can share it with someone you care about as well. Let’s keep being there for one another, act with kindness and compassion, and get through this together.

xoxo,

Laura Lee

Embroidery, Food, Garden

Ravishing Radishes

You may remember my last veggie embroidery post a while back, New & In Season. Well, keeping with the theme I thought I’d share with you the latest addition to my stitched up produce wall pieces: The Radish.

Back when I first started these little pieces, I certainly didn’t think that they would be as popular as they had. The beet and broccoli pieces have been such a hit. I fully intend to keep on going with this theme and following up with a farm to table recipe to match. Stay tuned for next week’s blog on a roasted radish recipe.

As promised, I’ve got a kale wall hanging coming up next, so don’t worry!

A little bit more about these is that they are three inch hoops, which are smaller sized hoops than I typically do, but I wanted to allow for focus on the intricacy of stitching while keeping the cost down. Visit the shop and fill up your cart with this radish hoop, beets, broccoli, and an “Eat Your Veggies” Towel.

Is there a fruit or veggie that you’d like to have an embroidery hoop of? Let me know and I’ll get stitching!

Embroidery

That Day for the Mothers & Mamas

Yea, so I have been a little quiet on the blog again. I have to say there has been no shortage of excitement here on my end! I’m completely in love with my latest and greatest venture of managing Paisley Farm and Greenhouses and all the excitement that that entails especially now that spring is upon us. On top of that, I’ve had the chance to sit down with Northshore Magazine for a lovely chat and interview as well as the craziness of getting ready for Mother’s Day!

That’s right, the day for celebrating Mama’s and all those Mama-like is getting closer. Of course, I’ve got the 2021 “I Love You, Mom” Towel ready to go in the shop and I’ve even got the Happy Mother’s Day Card to match. I highly recommend getting your orders in by May 1st to ensure arrival by Mother’s Day as the post office has been a little slower than normal lately. I’ve also got a few other new items listed in the shop as well, so feel free to browse and add to your cart. (wink, wink)

Embroidery

Longing for Normalcy

I don’t know about y’all, but I think we’re all getting a little stir-crazy. The Pandemic has been tough on all of us and, unfortunately, it’s not quite over with yet. Although, I am very excited to announce I got my first vaccine dose this week. While I sat post shot, I day dreamed of all of the things I’ve been longing to do. Most of which consist of having a glass of wine on a patio and… traveling.

I wasn’t exactly a jet-setter before the Pandemic, but not having the ability to hop on a plane when I want sure does make the itch to travel a little itchier. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. I’m hoping in the next few years that could be a possibility, but until then stitching up some destination pillows is the best I can do.

For those of you that can think back to what feels like 500 years ago to November, I hosted a little custom order sale. Well, I sure had a lot of pillows to stitch over the holidays. Some of which I cannot share due to personal information being stitched on them, but this little, lovely London piece came out great. Simple, sleek, and looks great on a plush leather couch.

Again, while I won’t be able to travel anytime soon, stitching in my free time allows me an escape. One I’m very grateful for. I hope you are doing well, staying in good health, and taking time to take care of your mental health.

Food, Recipes

Roasted Fennel & Tomatoes

I always love hearing what kind of produce folks need recipes for. My latest request was for a fennel recipe. Depending on where you’re located, fennel is a completely underutilized winter/spring vegetable. This celery like bulb is crisp, slightly sweet, and tastes of anise. Here is a quick, simple, and light recipe for roasted fennel and tomatoes. It makes a great side dish or you can serve it tossed with a pasta.

Roasted Fennel & Tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bulb fennel & stems, halved & sliced
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a roasting pan or baking sheet, toss the onion, garlic, fennel, and tomatoes with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place pan in oven and roast for roughly 45 minutes or until tomato edges start to brown. Make sure to stir every 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Top with freshly grated parmesan and serve.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes: When chopping the fennel, use some of the feathery fronds, you don’t have to use all of them. You can add a little red pepper flakes if you’d like some kick. I highly recommend adding a little freshly grated parmesan at the end.

If you are interested in putting in a recipe request, let me know! Shoot me a message through the contact form or comment below!

Garden, Updates

Season of Rebirth, Season of Growth

I’ve been quiet on the blog the last month, my apologies. If you have time, I have a lot to share. Take a break, grab a cup of tea and let’s catch up….

Spring is here. There is something magical that happens amongst the flora and fauna as warmer weather begins to creep in. It’s a time of rebirth and growth. I feel as both my personal and professional life are experiencing this same seasonal change as well.

As may or may not know or noticed, I came home to Massachusetts over the Christmas holiday and have been helping family and friends with farms, recovery from surgeries, etc. Life has a funny way of working sometimes and as many of us know, it can certainly be unexpected. Without going into too much detail, I have decided to stay in Massachusetts to continue to help my father on his farm as well as take up a new position at Paisley’s Farmstand and Greenhouse.

Paisley’s & I

I spent my high school years living around the corner and down the way from Paisley’s Farm. I began working there sometime between my junior and senior year of high school and quickly acquired the nickname, “Field Hoe” as I spent a majority of my time in the fields picking produce fresh for the farm stand. I potted plants, worked the farm stand, and so much more. It’s been years, but I still have held the job as one of my favorites. It’s been my dream to own my own farm someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, but I’m excited to be back learning everything I can to prepare me for my own operation.

made by laura lee

What does taking a full-time job mean for made by laura lee? Honestly, not much will change! Perhaps the access to wonderful fresh produce for recipes and canning, the endless inspiration for the blog, and running the business out of Massachusetts. In my mind, these are all good things. I feel like when good things happen, they snowball and I am excited to announce that WickedLocal.com, a Massachusetts publication, interviewed me about the news and the business. Make sure to check it out and give it a share. Please.

Personally…

There have been a lot of sudden changes this year. Moving, new job, new plans & permits for made by laura lee, etc. It’s exciting but in the midst of it all, I unexpectedly lost a dear, dear friend last week. I’ve been working through my grief and am slowly coming to peace with the loss. Of course, there are still moments of collapsing into an ugly-face crying puddle, but as I planted thousands of geraniums last week it gave me time to reflect and realize the beauty in life, loss, and love. Geraniums symbolize so many different things, depending on the color. Overall, they represent love, friendship, happiness, and positivity. All feelings I’ve been meditating on as I plant each one in remembrance of my first love and best friend.

With that I leave you with nothing but love and appreciation. Remember to tell the ones you love that you love them. Live each day with kindness. Take pleasure in the little things. Most importantly, make sure that you are living the life you want to lead.

xoxo,

Laura Lee

Food, Recipes

Whipped Goat Cheese & Strawberry Balsamic Pastry

With Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day this weekend, I thought I’d pay another tribute to the Hallmark Holiday’s with a recipe in addition to last week’s blog! Nothing says Valentine’s Day like fresh strawberries. While I admit I’m in now way a baker*, I thought an easy and delicious treat was in order. This is great for brunch or dessert!

Whipped Goat Cheese & Strawberry Balsamic Pastry

  • 8 ounce goat cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  • 4 cups sliced strawberry
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 2-4 Puff Pastry Shells

For ease of following this recipe, please know you’ll be making the strawberry balsamic topping first, then while baking the pastry shells you’ll create the whipped goat cheese.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place strawberries in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stirring regularly.
  3. Once bubbling, add honey and balsamic.
  4. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to cool container.
  6. Place strawberry mix in the fridge to cool while prepping other elements of the dish.
  7. Next place pastry shells on a nonstick pan and put in oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. (The package says 18 minutes, but that was too long with my oven.)
  8. While pastry shells are baking, in a bowl vigorously mix goat cheese, agave, and milk. Set aside.
  9. After removing pastry shells from the oven, allow to cool for a moment before plating.
  10. Remove the tops from the center of the shell and add goat cheese mixture.
  11. After top with two to three large spoonfuls of strawberry balsamic topping and serve!
  12. Enjoy!

Notes: You can use the honey and agave interchangeably or just use one for the entire dish. I, myself, prefer agave, but use whatever you have and it will still be delightful. For the whipped goat cheese, you can use any kind of milk. I’ve tested this with both almond and regular milk, neither will disappoint.

Disclaimer: I am not a baker. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, so please do not judge that I use pre-made pastry shells instead of making them from scratch! It won’t change that these are yummy and easy.

Embroidery, Updates

Galentine’s & Valentine’s

That time of year when celebration of friendship and love is about to fall upon us… I’ve been busy in preparation, or maybe just shoveling snow. It depends on the day, I suppose. Either way, I wanted to stitch up something special for the occasion. The standard “I love you” seemed a little textbook after the 2020 and rocky start to 2021 that we all experienced. I thought something a little more meaningful was in order.

“You Are Loved”

“You are loved.” I think with the inability to see close friends and family over the last year due to this pandemic has made being able to share love increasingly difficult. Perhaps, I just needed to meditate on the words themselves. Maybe you know someone that does too? No matter what you are experiencing this season, please know that you are loved.

This “You Are Loved” Hoop is now listed in the shop and available for purchase. Thank you for your continued support. I’m grateful for all the blog love and readership over the years.

Happy Galentine’s & Valentine’s Day!

Food, Recipes

Tamarind Beets with Lime Crème Fraîche

I’ve been wanting Southeast Asian flavors lately without the heaviness of a curry or saltiness of stir-fry. I cooked up this unique combo of earthy beets, tangy tamarind, spicy chiles, and the sweetness of crème fraîche. You can make this as an appetizer, snack, or on a bed of greens for a decadent salad.

Tamarind Beets with Lime Crème Fraîche

  • 5-6 small beets, boiled, peeled, and diced
  • 1 Tbsp butter or cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste or sauce
  • 1 hot pepper, diced (I used a Serrano)
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • Chili powder or cayenne (just a pinch)
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro and green onion for garnish, optional
  1. In a sauté pan, heat butter.
  2. When melted add ginger, spices, and hot pepper. 
  3. Once ingredients have blended and spices begin to smell aromatic and ginger caramelizes, add beets. 
  4. Add tamarind to beet mixture and coat thoroughly. 
  5. In small bowl, add crème fraîche, chili powder, lime zest, and juice. 
  6. Serve with cilantro and green onion garnish.
  7. Deep beets and enjoy!

Note: I highly recommend boiling the beets the day before, cooling over night for the easiest way to peel them. The skins will pop right off. Also, if you don’t like spicy food, hold back on the pepper. I thoroughly enjoy spicy food. I admit, the last time I tested this recipe the pepper was so hot, I had to add a touch of agave to the crème fraîche.

Embroidery, Food, Garden

New & In Season

Are you expecting a farm to table like post listing all the veggies that are in season during the month of January? Well, while this isn’t exactly what this post is, I’m certainly playing off of it though. As you know, I love vegetables. I love growing them, cooking with them, and most definitely, eating them!

As part of my goal for 2021, I wanted to have my embroidery reflect my love of produce and my embroidery skills. With that being said, here are the first of many new mini veggie hoops I will be introducing to the shop. First to be released are beets and broccoli!

And, yes… beets and broccoli are in season this month. I will be releasing new vegetable embroidery as the veggies are in season. Next on the list are radishes and kale. A little bit more about these is that they are three inch hoops, which are on the smaller than I typically do, but I wanted to allow for focus on the intricacy of stitching while keeping the cost down. Visit the shop and fill up your cart with beets, broccoli, and an “Eat Your Veggies” Towel.

Is there a fruit or veggie that you’d like to have an embroidery hoop of? Let me know and I’ll get stitching!