Food, Recipes

Something Sweet in the New

I am one of those people that if I am not learning something new on a regular basis I begin to feel stagnant.  I feel stuck.  I then become frustrated.  Usually, I don’t pay attention to the nagging in the back of my mind until it’s too late.  The last few weeks I have been overwhelmed with lengthy to do lists, custom orders, and planning some big life changes (more to come soon).  As I was rushing around yesterday, I had a iCalendar notification for an ice cream class that I had signed up for a month ago.  Signing up for this event had completely escaped me.  What a treat, an ice cream class in August! Well done! Thanks, past Me!

The co-owners of Lick Ice Cream partnered with Sustainable Food Center to host this class.  What a great opportunity for such a great cause, for more on that click here. There was a demo and then we broke off into groups to create our own fig inspired ice cream!  We were given a base, chocolate sauce, fig jam, and neufshatel (fancy cream cheese).  I, clearly, fell into the right group when the decision that all of the ingredients would have to be used!  We went with a chocolate and neufshatel base, with fig & chocolate swirls.  Heaven!  Due to the smokiness of the figs this year, it tasted like toasted marshmallow.  As a serious s’mores fan, I was completely blissed out.  In fact, I would have taken a picture of our batch, but…. we ate it all.

Who knew making ice cream was so easy.  I was always under the impression it was much more difficult.  I’m looking forward to testing out new recipes and maybe, potentially, incorporating some recipes into the upcoming cookbook!

Thanks Lick and SFC for a great learning opportunity!

Canning, Uncategorized

Cool as a Cuke

It’s Summer.  It’s hot and some of my favorite vegetables are in season: okra, shishito peppers, and tomatoes.  Watermelon (yes, I realize this is a fruit) and cucumbers are runners up and with cucumbers means PICKLES!

I’ve been waiting since January, when I finished my last jar of bread and butter pickles, for cucumbers to make their come back.  I made sure to get some at the HOPE Farmer’s Market from Johnson’s Backyard Garden this weekend.

I spent Sunday afternoon slicing, packing, and brining these crisp cucumbers.  I still use the recipe Grandmother, Nettie, gave me.  It’s still on the same piece of paper she typed it up on her typewriter eight years ago.  My Grandmother passed away a few years ago and my family is delighted that her recipe was passed on.

That being said…

Austinites! I will be selling these pints of pickles at the HOPE Farmer’s Market this Sunday.  Swing by and get you some!  They’re just like Nettie used to make!

 

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Cocktails, Food

A Good Little Wife: Back in the Kitchen

I don’t know anyone that likes to be sick.  I think most would actually prefer to be at work or school than be home in bed.  I rarely get sick and when I do, it’s at the mercy of allergies.  This past week was one of the times I feel victim to seasonal allergies with a serving of mold allergies.  There was a stretch that I slept for 24 hours, not an exaggeration, which drove me to go to the doctor.  Something I avoid at all costs because I know it always results in antibiotics. On three, 1, 2, 3,…. UGH!

I’m on the mend, finally.  I have an urge to move around the house, cook, and get back to making things.  While I still a have limited energy, the sun has been such a driving power… and the salsa music… and the coffee, of course, the coffee.

I have my next batch of jam simmering away (details soon) but I just have to share some of my kitchen creations, as of the last few months I have felt completely uninspired in this department.

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Indian food is my favorite.  Hands down.  It’s what I consider comfort food at its best.  A world of complex flavors that warm the soul.  Saag Paneer (spinach & cheese) is my go to when I am feeling blue.  It has been tough to find a recipe that I like, but, believe it or not, I nailed one down!  Of course, I amped up the amount of ginger, garlic, and spice, but it’s a good one!   (Click here for the recipe)

 

IMG_1983Infused Rum

Ok, so I can’t drink at the moment due to being on antibiotics, but boy, oh boy, this one is going to be a treat once I’m in the clear to have an adult beverage!

2 cups of white rum + 1 cup pineapple + 1 tsp. red chili flakes = cocktail in 2 weeks.

I’m hoping for some sweet and spicy goodness! Just add club soda!

 

Juice, Juice, Juice

I really like to say that I am not a picky eater.  I was raised to eat what was put in IMG_1975front of me, because there are starving children all over the world.  Admittedly, there are a few things I just cannot stand: my grandmothers hot red sauerkraut with vinegar being at the top of that list. Raw celery, number two.  If I have the opportunity, I pass on cooking with parsley or munching on a green apple.  Feeling under the weather lately and having no appetite, I know that parsley and green apple are so good for you, so I bent my rules.

(4 Granny Smith + 1/2 bunch Parsley)/juicer = DAMN!

I’ve made this 3 times this week! That has to say something about how good it is, right?

Enjoy!

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!)

Uncategorized

Making Memories Across the Sea

IMG_0052I am the luckiest girl in the world.  I have returned home from a gastronomic pilgrimage in France.  I am jet lagged and ten pounds heavier, but let me say it was worth every ounce. Working at a culinary school definitely has its perks, especially at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.  Once or twice a year the company sends over a small group of students and employees to France to see the Escoffier Museum and, of course, EAT!  Words cannot express how grateful I am that I was able to go on this trip.  IMG_0291

In a nutshell, it was 5 days of non stop eating and drinking.  Our tour guide, Chef Michel Bouit of Michel Bouit International, was a spunky Frenchman who knew the South of France better than the back of his hand. We explored wineries, olive oil producers (which was a tiny old farm house), confiseries, patiseries, farmers markets, the Escoffier Museum, and I even got to stick my toes in the Mediteranean.

After our time in Nice, we took a fast train to Paris, which I admittedly most of the way due to 2 bottles of wine the night before. The country side was picture perfect like something from an old painting.  In Paris, the wining didn’t stop and certainly didn’t slow down.  Between nibbles, I got to see the Eiffel Tower, the outside of the Louvre (the line to get in was a quarter mile long!), the oldest department store in Paris, one of the first kitchen supply stores, and explore the local night life. IMG_0065

I truly believe that part of my heart is still across the Atlantic. I don’t think it is yearning to come back to the States any time soon, if ever, but I can hear it calling for my return to France.  Some day…

 

 

For more pictures, check out my flickr page: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjDXs2ze