Book of the Month, Food, Recipes

Book of the Month

FullSizeRenderWhile I’ve been an absolute mad woman creating gig posters, updating my blog with shows, my Etsy Shop with more of my Cards for a Cause, learning others songs (more on in an upcoming post), taking on the social media for where I work (OPA!, go ahead and give them a like on the ol’ Facebook), I have been silently sticking to my #1 New Years Resolution: READING.

January’s Book: Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

A few years ago my cousin, Lucy, came to visit me here in Austin.  Lucy is an amazing woman, a doctor, and I’ve always looked up to her in that big sister I never had kind of way.  I hadn’t seen her since she got married and she looked fantastic.  She was in town for “some Paleo Conference.” Lucy was talking non stop about this Paleo business.  She told me that I had to read this book.  After her departure, I got home one day and there on my porch waiting for me, freshly from Amazon, was this book compliments of Lucy.

Fast forward 3 years, maybe more, to January 2015.  I still haven’t read the book, because like any book that anyone tells me to read I, of course, drag my feet.  What prompted me to pick up the Primal Blueprint, besides my New Year’s Resolution? I have a particular health condition that has been passed down through the women on my mother’s side of the family (Thanks Mom!) and I find as I have gotten older certain symptoms are rearing their ugly head.  My doctor, who is fabulous, gave me several options to help me with some of the symptoms, none of which either of us were thrilled about.

I think we can all agree, my doctor included, that a lot of what happens here in the States is we treat symptoms rather than the cause. Because of my condition, I have side effects such as a very hard time keeping stable blood sugar levels, which can be more than frustrating and turn me into a HANGRY monster in no time.  I started with two major changes immediately:

1. Butter Coffee.  I cannot give up coffee.  EVER.  I am Laura Lee and I am addicted to coffee.  The problem being, I can have my two cups in the morning (which is all I ever need) and then all of a sudden crash like nothing you have ever seen.  I have made the change to butter coffee and that crash has gone away completely.  Not to mention it tastes like drinking a latte!

2. Protein.  I have been raw, I have been vegan, I have been a vegetarian.  In recent years, I have just settled eating meat once or twice a week, nothing crazy.  This last month though, I have forced myself to eat meat once or twice a day. 

HOLY COWS AND BACON, BATMAN!  Who knew that eating a little more protein would make such a drastic difference in my life?!?!!?!?!?  The symptoms of my condition have completely dissipated, I have way more energy, I am in a much better mood, productivity has gone up, I am sleeping WAY better, and the most amazing thing… My sweet tooth has virtually disappeared! Ok, ok, and even though this next item wasn’t on my New Years to do list, I’m not going to lie and I am pleased with the results, but I have unintentionally lost 6 pounds since January 4th.  Not bad, right?

This was a great read.  Usually health stats and medical articles are daunting to read, Primal Blueprint was smooth sailing and easy to relate to.  It’s true, there are moments of discomfort when Sisson challenges everything we are taught to know and believe, but given the results, I would say there is a whole lot of truth to this, not just a diet, but lifestyle.  Enjoy!

12 Day of Crafting, Canning

12 Days of Crafting: Day 7

Day 7: An Apple & A Brandy A Day

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An apple a day keeps the doctor a way!  I had a relative who lived to be 103 and I asked her, “what’s your secret?” She said, “Go for awalk every morning. Then they say to eat an apple a day, but I don’t really like apples all that much unless they’re in pie.  I make sure to have a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed in the morning and a glass of wine every afternoon.  If you don’t have wine, a brandy will do.”

Well, in honor of her, I have put together a brandied apple butter that will be available next Saturday at the Bluebonnet Bazaar.

(I apologize that this is such a short post, but I am so into the little crafty creation that I am making right now that I won’t want to be away too long!)

Canning

Butters and Jellies and Jams! Oh my!

butter jellies jamsOk, I cannot stop talking about cooler weather!  It means fall is here, sweaters, scarves, and all things pumpkin!  It also means that I am not avoiding my stove top and oven like the plague, which means when I got my latest order for a gift basket I was jumping for joy!  I had already been canning cucumbers like a mad woman despite the heat and humidity, but now I can have all the windows open on a cooler evening, have a glass of wine, crank up Miles Davis, and bust the ol’ recipe cards out.

I wanted to do something just a little different for this gift basket.  With the combination of seasonal produce and the love I have for the combination of sweet and savory flavors, I decided to play with both ideas!  Nettie’s Bread & Butter Pickles, Jalapeno Jelly, Ginger Peach Jam, and brand new to my recipe collection: Rosemary Pear Butter, were the winners for this little basket.  I must say the Rosemary Pear Butter paired wonderfully with my glass of Côtes du Rhône!  

The basket has been sent off and I eagerly await to get feedback! But like all batches of pickles, butters, jellies, and jams (oh, my) I am left with a little extra!  What does that mean?!  Well, for those that are interested in trying some new treats, but aren’t quite ready to make the commitment to a pint size jar, or perhaps you too are in search for a gift basket for someone… Look no further!  I have put together a trio of sweet and savory gift bags that need homes!

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What’s inside? Three 4 oz. jars! 1 Jalapeno Jelly, 1 Ginger Peach Jam, and 1 Rosemary Pear Butter.

How much? $13

Interested?  Please don’t hesitate to contact me!  (lauraleeimhoff@gmail.com) I will find a way to get them to you!

Uncategorized

Better than Bread & Butter

B&B PicklesAbout few year ago, I discovered canning.  I can hear it now… you are gasping! “How could you discover canning?!” or even, “It can’t be, no!”   It is true, I truly discovered canning.  I discovered how truly amazing it is.  I had previously heard tales of canning from my grandmother or as an urban myth from Martha Stewart, not ever really believing that it ever really existed.  A bit nieve.  At the time, I thought it was something my grandmother and her sisters and mothers before did to preserve their hard-earned harvest and seasonal crops.  In a time where technology was just evolving (picture horse and buggy, dirt roads, gas lanterns, etc.) Women were born already knowing how to sew, clean, butcher a chicken, and, yes, can.

Myself, I am not a grandmother and I certainly did not know how to can from birth, but I can tell you my grandmother is an inspiration.  Nettie Imhoff.  What a woman.  Born and raised in Texas.  Really… what a woman.

I was baffled the first time she came to the Paisley’s Farmstand and asked for all of their day old pickling cucumbers.  What on earth was she going to do with 10 plus pounds of cucumbers?!  “Make Bread & Butter Pickles,” she said so matter of factly, that I didn’t dare question her.

Weeks later when I was living in a tiny, second story apartment in the heart of downtown Boston I received a package from my Nana.  Low and behold, I found what you can do with ten pounds of cucumbers.  As a foodie, at the time and even now, I am ashamed to say I didn’t like pickles.  Hated them.  If you know my grandmother, you kn0w can’t turn down her food or else lightening will strike you where you stand.  I remember squeamishly opened the jar, pop! Dipping my fingers in the vinegar, pinching a slice between my fingertips, closing my eyes, and throwing it into my mouth.  I didn’t believe it!  It was the most delectable thing I had ever had.  I requested that I receive the packages as often as she could send them, if not sooner.  I tried to make them last, but I couldn’t.  I scowered every grocery and specialty store in the city to find a pickle that could keep me satisfied between batches and seasons.  Nothing.

Years later of just settling with a store bought pickle, I still cringe at the thought, I finally asked my Nana for her secret recipe.  An email later, I began my canning endeavors.  Through trial and error, keeping my fingers crossed, a little bit more bread, and a little bit more butter and now I send my Nana her package of Nettie’s Bread & Butter Pickles.