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

Cards, Fermenting, Mixed Media, Story

How Romantic…

While we’re still technically in January, February is pretty much here.  I would have forgotten that means Valentine’s Day if I hadn’t treated myself to a getaway weekend in Belton, TX.  Belton, Texas you might ask?  It doesn’t really have too much going for it except their big convention center.  Why would I go there? Well, I’m delighted to announce that I bought tickets to go to the Annual Mother Earth News Fair. It is a collection of workshops and lectures for homesteaders and farmers.

I am beyond excited.  I have been checking in on speakers almost daily to see who has been added to the list.  Last year, I learned so much like how to start successfully fermenting things, which you can see I’ve been putting to good use by my last blog post.

So how is this romantic? Well, technically it’s not, but I absolutely love learning about homesteading, soil care, chicken raising, bee keeping, mushroom growing and more. Getting back to the point though…

Valentine’s Day! It’s something I’ve never been too keen on whether I’m romantically involved or not, but I get pretty excited about this little fruit and veg Valentine’s Day cards either way! You can take a look at the shop for more!

Brand, Canning, DIY, Mixed Media, Recipes, Updates

Pickles & Press

What a whirlwind of a week it’s been… Well, I guess almost two since my last post! I’ve since been an embroidery machine as made by laura lee was featured in the Austin 360 (by the Austin American Statesman) Holiday Foodie Gift Guide! This is the biggest bit of press that my little handmade business and blog has received yet.

In between embroidering Texas Towels, I took breaks by baking banana bread and pecan pie as well as whipping a quick batch of refrigerator pickles. I love having pickles around as a cool, crips snack or a great addition to a cheese plate or sandwich.  Here’s a quick and easy recipe for you!  Oh yea, these are a little zingy!

Quick Zingy Fridge Pickles

  • 2 32-ounce mason jars
  • 3 cups of cider vinegar
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cucumbers, washed & sliced
  • 6-10 small sweet peppers, washes, quartered, and seeds removed (you can use bell peppers instead)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Version 2

  1. Clean and prep cucumbers, peppers, onions, and garlic
  2. Stuff clean mason jars with cucumbers, peppers, and onions
  3. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, garlic, salt, sugar, and spices then bring to a boil
  4. When vinegar mixture has come to a rolling boil, place mason jars in the sink and pour the mixture into mason jars
  5. Place lids on the jars and wipe down outside of any spills
  6. While cooling, place jars on a towel on the counter (towel acts as a buffer so the hot glass does not cool too quickly and shatter). Leave jars out until room temperature
  7. Place jars in the fridge.  Pickles will be ready in a day or two
  8. Enjoy!

 

DIY, Food, Recipes

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate & Pistachios

A few weeks ago, I snuck up to St. Louis to spend a few days with my mom and her wonderful husband.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  While my folks were at work, I spent my mornings reading with the sunrise and coffee and taking walks around Historic Lafayette Park.  During the day, I would catch up on some much-needed adulting I needed to do then saunter off to my mom’s plot at the community garden to collect vegetables for dinner.  One night I whipped up this eggplant dish and accompanying main of stewed tomatoes and rainbow chard… more on that to come.  For now:

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate, & PistachiosIMG_2659 2.jpeg

  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced in half the long way
  • 1 four-ounce packet of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Pomegranate seeds, half a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup of roasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil (I skimmed the oil off of an almond butter jar)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Place sliced eggplant facedown on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place in oven and bake until tender.  About 25 minutes
  3. Remove from the oven.  Flip eggplant cut side up and lightly glaze the cut surface with almond oil and squeeze lemon across the eggplant.
  4. Top eggplant with goat cheese, pomegranate, pistachios, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste
  5. For a little extra pizazz, you can, ever so sparingly, drizzle honey on top with a little extra sea salt.

Enjoy!

Brand, Embroidery, Recipes, Story, Updates

Good Things Are Happening

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Blueberry Basil Jam & Vanilla Ice Cream (recipe & photo from laura lee’s kitchen)

It’s been a pretty exciting week around here.  Last week the laura lee’s kitchen – digital cookbook went live on the website and is now available for download.  Not only that, but I was also featured in a write up by Voyage Houston this past week as well. This was the first little bit of press that made by laura lee has ever received.  It’s pretty exciting!

Two big firsts for me!  I’ve got plenty more firsts coming later this fall as well.  I’ve feverishly been working on a new “Fall” line of embroidery that will be featured in the rolling out of the new online store! Doesn’t that sound très trendy?  Not to mention, I may or may not already be in panic mode for the holiday gift ordering season.  It’s coming, whether I’m ready or not! In fact, make sure to get your orders in.

While I sip my spiced chai, I’ll be sitting here embroidering away.  If you haven’t purchased laura lee’s kitchen – digital cookbook, you can order it here.  And if you’re unsure about the cookbook, feel free to catch up on some more Laura Lee reading here in the Voyage Houston Article.

 

 

 

Brand, Food, Recipes

Kickstarting with the Cookbook

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 5.18.22 PMIt has now been a little over a week since I have finished the Kickstarter Cookbook.  It was definitely an undertaking and I learned a lot about myself.  I like to bite off more than I can chew, every bit of pun intended.  At first, this little cookbook was only supposed to be a little pamphlet or mini-cookbook.  Of course, I got carried away with the spectacular idea of “go big or go home.”  I began compiling over 100 recipes, photos, etc.

What was I thinking?!  After being talked off the ledge, I reigned it in and put together a reasonably sized book for the Kickstarter Incentive.  I am incredibly pleased on the final product and believe I have something worth bringing to publishers for a bigger project as well as the potential for more books down the line.

If you donated to my Kickstarter a couple years ago, please make sure to check for updates from Kickstarter.  To access the cookbook, you must check your email for the link and password for the cookbook download. The emails come from Kickstarter, not me, and are titled “Project Update: #6, etc.”. If you are having trouble accessing the link, please email me at lauraleeimhoff@gmail.com. If you’ve moved or haven’t completed the initial survey, please update your information so I can get your incentive to you.

I’m very excited to be getting these out to you so I can begin focusing on the next steps.  Thank you for your continued support!

 

Embroidery, Updates

Like A Boss

Back when I managed Opa Coffee & Wine Bar, I had my bad ass team, who no matter how tired, how hungover, how whatever they could be, showed up through thick and thin and owned it like a boss.  I’ve always seemed to surround myself with badasses.  In the music scene, the craft community, and, now, in my very own home, badasses.  I’m lucky to know such amazing people.

Every now and then though, in the midst of working two part time jobs, renovating rooms, building gardens, vacuuming up after three dogs, doing dishes, and building a business, feeling like I can’t keep up is definitely a cloud that follows me around.  Sometimes, we can’t do it all.  Sometimes, we can.

I always opt for the later of the two previous statements.  I can do it all. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting everything on hold, taking a nap, and regrouping.  Other times, it’s just powering through.  This week, I took a little time to embroider.  There is nothing like stopping to stitch “#girlboss” for a couple of hours…. talk about meditating on your intention. IMG_0972.jpg

We all need to take time to tell ourselves that we are a boss.  We can keep persisting.  We can follow and live our dreams.  With that, I hope you take time today remind yourself of the same.  The girl boss in me bows to the girl boss in you.  Have a great day!

 

Before & After, Uncategorized, Updates

I’m Back. Really.

img_1369Really.  To say that I’ve been a little quiet may in fact be the biggest understatement since my last blog post and should cover the understatement bases for the remainder of 2019.   I have come back to life.  In fact, Life is kind of what got in the way.  So much has changed since my last post, I don’t even know where to begin. Rather than recapping and rehashing the last year or so, what I will focus on are the things that have recently taken place to get me back on track.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

I have found my tribe.  I have teamed up with some amazing people to help push me forward, grow, learn… and learn things that I really needed to know to help grow laura lee… like that online store, a better website, etc.  It’ll be a slow process to build, but I’ll get there.  Despite sometimes what I think, I can’t do everything by myself.  This team is the A-Team.

New Home… New Homestead

To wrap up 2018… I moved.  I left my adorable little apartment that I’ve called home for five years and completely uprooted myself to a little home in the country.  I’m surrounded by hundreds of acres of rolling hills, cows, pastures, some trees, and John Deere tractors.  I’m greeted by the wagging tales of dogs every morning and coffee already brewed.  (*note: we have not trained the dogs to make coffee yet) I will start prepping my garden beds this week so that I can start growing my own produce for my canned goods!

More Updates:

  • I have not forgotten about Kickstarter Incentives. I have learned that I signed myself up for too complicated of incentives, which is taking me much longer to fill. My sincerest apologies… thank you for your patience.
  • I’m still working on the cookbook.  I will post a teaser soon.
  • I now live on the same property as my furniture shop, you can expect to see more updates about that once I finish unpacking boxes.
  • I’ve fallen in love, despite my greatest attempt not to.
  • I am working on a new line of embroidery goods.
  • There are workshops/classes being planned.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for a made by laura lee Youtube channel coming soon.

If any of ya’ll are still reading my humble little blog… thank you.  It’s good to be back.  I appreciate you.

Book of the Month, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

If You Can’t Stand the Heat

Getting a little inspiration from some of my favorite cookbooks!

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Well,  let me tell you, things have been heating up plenty in my kitchen lately.

As some of you may know, I completed a successful Kickstarter Campaign back in May.  I’ve now been working on the business and more importantly the incentives for all the fine folks that contributed.  One of  these items is a collection of recipes by made by laura lee.

A cookbook!  Yes!  This will be so fun!  I thought to myself.  Well…. I think I underestimated how much work would go into this bad boy.  Wowzah!  I’m still compiling a thoughtful introduction, testing and getting pictures of every recipe, etc.  Putting together a cookbook is a full time job.  My hat is off to some of my culinary creatives that have already put one out.  I appreciate all the help and pointers that I’ve received along the way.

For those of you that are waiting patiently, thank you.  Please know it’s a work in progress.

I know for cookbooks that I purchase, I love pictures!  I want a picture for every recipe!  Obviously, I rely heavy on the visual side, but is there something you like in a cookbook? What is ideal for you?Let me know, I’ll see what I can incorporate just for you.

Thanks again, ya’ll!

Brand, Uncategorized

Out of My Comfort Zone

What have you done to get out of your comfort zone?  Going out on a Friday night (when you much rather be at home in your pjs eating pizza and drinking wine by yourself)?  Making the first move?  Skydiving?

Well, for me…. it’s something pretty crazy: Asking for help.

Sounds easy, right?

Wrong.

This is absolutely soul crushing for me.  I’ve always been able to take on anything: folding laundry, doing dishes, vacuuming for an entire household all at age twelve, doing the jobs of three different positions throughout my career while only getting paid for one, working 60 hours a week with a debilitating illness. Now at thirty years old, I’m getting over it.  I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and I am asking for help.  It is absolutely terrifying.

What’s all the build up?  What am I asking for?  Short answer: your money.  Long answer: I would like your help in helping me grow made by laura lee not just as a blog but as a brand and as a business.  Help me be the next Martha Stewart, minus the felony. Check out the Kickstarter video!  It’s beautiful and I am so proud.  I hope you will be just as proud as me to be apart of it.

HELP MADE BY LAURA LEE GROW!

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