hot tea toddy.

i was beginning to think that i may becoming superhuman. in fact, my husband + i had a lengthy conversation just last week. we were in complete bewilderment as to why neither of us [nor our two children] had caught any colds in the past couple of years. real colds. the ones where you don’t get out of bed colds. i’m not talking the flu. because too often people mistake actual influenza for a cold. anyway, i started the conversation & it maybe sounded something like this:

you know, i haven’t been sick in years! like actually sick.

come to think of it, neither have i. it’s been a couple of years.

neither have the kids. i’m going to attribute this to all of the vitamins, garlic, antioxidants + ACV. let’s knock on some wood?

maybe we are becoming superhuman!!! **huge smile on his face**

**eye roll. laugh. eye roll.**

and then we caught something. what a disappointment. with 30 nearing, i thought it might be cool if i were actually beginning to develop an immunity to all viruses. ha! unrealistic thought, i know. but a fun thought, nevertheless. it all began with our seven year old. she came down with a cold last week. i was nurse-mom for several days while she was out from studies, tending to her every need. and then. . .lo & behold. . .(unsurprisingly) i came down with the most terrible head cold. which eventually developed into an all-over-body-hurting type of cold. coupled with a sinus infection. oh, and AF. AF decided to make an appearance the other night. so add in some slightly unbearable cramping. . . .& voila! recipe for disaster. it must have been all of those kisses she & i shared. because kisses are the cure to viruses, right? lesson learned. currently, i am still in the throes of it all & my husband is in the beginning stages. he’s in for a lovely treat **uh**. we plan on locking ourselves indoors all weekend, all four of us snuggling and caring for one another. if you must find me, i will be here at home & i will very likely be in my most comfortable sweat pants, raw honey or moroccan clay smeared all over my face, dripping runny nose, a messy bun right atop my head, drinking buckets of tea with lemon, ACV & perhaps a few hot toddies. oh and doing something called R-E-S-T-I-N-G. strange how from time to time, we find ourselves guilty of being so very good at pushing right up to or over the limits, forgetting all about rest + relaxation that are vital for refueling the mind and body. i rarely sit. i hate naps. ask my husband. i am constantly on the go. i like. . .no, love. . .to consistently be doing something. because of these things, meditation is the most difficult practice and one of which i often have to force myself into. my hands are always working. baking. cooking. knitting. cleaning. tidying. helping the kids. then there are times when my body completely takes over and demands rest. .much as it is this week. and as sad as it may sound, i feel like sickness is the only time resting feels completely acceptable. so over the past few days (& likely over the next) i have been giving my body the rest it deserves. once we are well again we plan to book some acupuncture sessions for nick + i. and a two hour massage for myself because my neck sounds similar to popping corn when i roll it around. which i’m fairly certain is not a good sign. yoga practice has been lacking. as well as body work. and i’ll kindly take this cold as a reminder to do a better job of caring for myself as a whole.

steamy tea toddy

6 oz oolong tea {or tea of choice}, brewed + prepared

2 Tbsp raw, unfiltered {preferably local!} honey

1 1/2 oz quality whiskey

lemon slices//wedges to taste

2 apple slices

5 whole cloves

5 whole allspice

1/2 cinnamon stick

fresh nutmeg, grated – 3 pinches

properly brew tea. the brewing method, vessel & water temperature will widely depend upon which type of tea leaves you are using. put 2 Tbsp raw, unfiltered honey into the bottom of a mug, leaving the measuring spoon in the cup. slowly pour the hot tea over the spoon + honey, filling the mug. add 1 1/2 oz whiskey of choice. mix well. place apple slices and lemon wedge(s) into drink. to the mug, add: 5 whole cloves, 5 whole allspice, and 1/2 cinnamon stick. top with 3 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg. allow to sit for a few moments before consuming. get some zz’s + thank me later. xx.

peanut butter apple oat crispy biscuits.

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my dad called me this afternoon. turns out, his dogs fell in love with the treats i had made & so he was wanting the recipe. not only that, but he basically said he has absolutely zero free time & asked that i just start making the dogs’ treats. done. & done.❤. i love it when people are enjoying the things i am making. because i work really hard sometimes. sometimes. 

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rigby eleanor quite enjoys these treats also. however, he seems to not be able to handle anything other than his fancy dog food these days. my old man. i’ve tried sweet potatoes, broccoli, chicken. . . .as well as all of the homemade dog treats. his body only appreciates the banana & oat biscuits that are listed in the archives on here. the site is sourced in that particular post & the treats are simple, yet fantastic. these biscuits are fairly basic as well. and as i always mention, if your dog has any dietary restrictions or needs something different — change out the flours or ingredients & tailor these to your pup!

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here’s what i did:

3/4 C. natural//homemade peanut butter [no salt added, no anything added — aside from peanuts]

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 C. organic apples, peeled & diced

2 free range eggs

2/3 C. almond flour//homemade or store bought — i don’t generally like to use almond flour in rigby’s dog treats. the only real reason i threw in some almond flour was because i had made some homemade in abundance for a recipe a couple of weeks ago & needed to use the remainder.

3 C. oat flour//homemade or store bought

1 C. rolled oats

preheat the oven to 350°F. combine all ingredients using the paddle attachment. you will have a thick dough after everything is mixed together. lightly sprinkle a counter top//working surface with additional oat flour. turn the dough out onto the floured surface. flour the top of the dough so that it does not stick to your rolling pin & begin gently rolling out until the thickness has reached roughly 1/2 cm or a tiny bit thicker. i used a small circular cutter to make miniature treats. which is ironic because our dog is the size of a horse. however, you can adjust based upon the sizing needs for your pooch. using the small circular cutter, i was able to cut out about 7 dozen treats [many of which went straight into the freezer for later]. if you aren’t looking to make so many, you could scale down the recipe. line a baking tray with unbleached parchment. the treats will not spread so you can fit quite a few onto one tray at a time. bake for 16-20 minutes or until the bottoms have browned & the tops are crispy with golden brown edges. if you want extra crispy biscuits, bake for a few minutes additional. allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before feeding to your dog//storing in the freezer. store in an air tight container for several days — preferably in the refrigerator. because these are organic treats, they do not last for an extended period of time if kept out. the treats should keep for 7-10 days if stored properly. i highly recommend freezing any leftovers that you will not be using for the week. enjoy! xx.

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apple butter // turns out colorado has orchards.

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i couldn’t remember the password to login to my blog today because that’s how long it’s been since i have posted. *insert wide-eyed face here.* the recipes have been piling up. . . .stacks of them. they just aren’t on here yet. & part of that is because life has been busy. but most of it is because i haven’t felt much like writing lately. i have nothing to say. and life has been rough & bustling. i could post the recipes alone. but wouldn’t that be boring? a week ago one of my best friends invited me to meet her at her grandmother’s farmstead to pick apples & pears off of the fruit trees. honeycrisps. fujis. my two favorites. she had been telling me about the orchard for years.

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her entire family used to get together every single year in the fall & had quite a streamline process for picking, sorting, peeling, cutting & processing the apples to make homemade apple cider and mead. the basement of her grandmother’s house had a room where the processing went on — a full room of tables & a homemade pulley system for the heavy glass jugs of cider and wine so that they would not have to be manhandled to their destination. underneath the stairs was a cellar where everything was stored. they would wait until after the first frost to begin picking because the apples would have a higher sugar content then.

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since those days, her grandfather has passed, her grandmother has aged and the family just doesn’t take part in such a hefty endeavor for cider anymore. i was completely honored that she even thought of me to join her.

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not only that, but she unwittingly planned the whole excursion during the golden hour. the house sits at the base of the foothills – nestled between some surrounding properties near the mountains and the busy city. b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.

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without even realizing, we had placed 164 apples and 8 large pears into gigantic baskets that i had brought along. a trunk load of apples!

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on the way home from the farm, i was conjuring up all of the different recipes i wanted to try out. . .apple butter was at the top of the list.

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apple butter, something i grew up on. my dad would bring it to the cabins with us when we would go to the cold mountains for long hunting trips. my sister and i would eat the entire container of apple butter spread over cinnamon toast. the smell brings back nostalgia at its finest.

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next on the list came jelly. compost was a priority as well. the jelly & compost were both going to be making all of the odds & ends of the apples useful. the peels & cores, that of which i saved a plenty. my grandparents had requested some apple crisp — i happily obliged.

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i shared bags of apples with my sister, grandmother & close friend. after that, all i was left with was a small bag of about 20 small apples. i decided to quarter and freeze them for later use — use for something very specific. this thanksgiving, i am going to be making homemade cider with those orchard apples — and from that cider. . . .will come hot buttered rum drinks. coming for thanksgiving dinner? you’re welcome to. & you’re welcome in advance for the hot adult drinks that will be served in abundance. aside from aaalllll of those things, lastly, i made rigby eleanor some homemade dog treats as well as froze some diced apples properly for use in baking frenzies later this season.

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i dropped some apple butter & dog treats next door at the neighbors.

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and have so much left over to share with friends & family. .it. is. ridiculous!

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i felt soo grateful after realizing just how many fruit pieces my friend had allowed me to bring home. i had taken her grandmother a jar of country bean soup mix that i had put together to initially say thank you for letting my family visit the property. this week i sent over some jars of apple butter.

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without further adieu, the recipe i used for the apple butter. this is done in a slow cooker overnight and total cooking time is 12+ hours. do not make this in a hurry. it should be a slow process and you will thank yourself later for taking your time. i promise. you will also thank yourself for even making this at all, as your house is going to smell absolutely delectable. in this particular recipe, the creator states that she does not endorse it for ‘canning,’ or more properly ‘jarring.’ but simply because she does not feel educated enough on the subject in order to feel confident with telling others to safely do so. i did a lot of research on jarring and apples and acidity and ph levels. science-ee stuff. and deemed the recipe just fine for jarring with the boiling water bath method after the sterilization & jarring process.

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97% of the jars sealed up properly. i am still trying to figure out what went wrong with the remaining 3%. unless you are familiar with jarring, i would say follow the instructions just as she has listed out. i’m no expert. i don’t even know what i’m doing. however, those of you who will be receiving jars as gifts. . . .pleeease do not be alarmed. i swear they aren’t jars full of botulism. s.w.e.a.r. xx.

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recipe courtesy — brown eyed baker. [listed out below exactly as she has on her site — please use link above for direct reference].

yield: 4 pints

prep time: 30 minutes

cook time: 12 hours

total time: 12 hours 30 minutes

An easy recipe for Apple Butter, made right in your slow cooker!

INGREDIENTS:

6½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place apples in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 10 hours.

2. Stir in vanilla extract, breaking up any large chunks of apples that remain. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.

3. Remove cover and use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until completely smooth. (Alternately, you could puree in batches in a food processor or regular blender.) If you want the apple butter thicker, you can continue to cook it on low with the lid of the slow cooker slightly ajar so that steam can escape.

4. Allow the mixture to cool, then spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

(Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction)

 

blueberry cheesecake ice cream.

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when i was little, my family would spend every single fourth of july at my great grandparents’ house. they had one of those old-fashioned, hand-crank, wooden ice cream makers. the slooow kind. where your arm gets super tired [to the point of thinking it may fall off] because you have to crank the handle for so long. that’s how i grew up making ice cream. so these days, electric makers aren’t allowed in the house. i was able to find an awesome wooden maker a few years ago at an antique shop and now we carry on the tradition with our kids every summer. there is nothing better than homemade vanilla ice cream. have you ever tried? not the kind in the store that’s labeled ‘homemade vanilla.’ make your OWN! do it.

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this recipe i’m sharing, however, is a no-churn. i had never tried making the cold stuff this way before.

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the ice cream was delicious [as were the cones]. what was left of it. i dropped 3/4 of the quart onto the kitchen floor while i was attempting to capture shots of the blueberry & cream filled tubs.

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and then. .to make matters even better, i absolutely refused to spend money on a pizzelle iron for the cones [as i knew i would only use it once every five years and it would sit, collecting dust & taking up kitchen space]. so i free-formed the ‘waffle’ bowls using a tin as a bit of a mold to wrap the pieces around.

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the recipe & process were almost identical to that of fortune cookies. all of the recipes are listed out below exactly as they are on the sites i found them. xx.

recipe for ice cream courtesy the baking goddess

Yields | 1 quart

Inspiration | Pastry Affair

  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 6 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Waffle cones, to serve (optional)
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook blueberries and granulated sugar until berries burst and release their juices (approximately 5-10 minutes). Add the cornstarch to thicken and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place blueberries in the freezer to cool quickly (approximately 15 minutes).
  2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add 1/2 cup cream and whip until the cream cheese mixture becomes incorporated. Scrape the bowl as needed. Add the rest of the cream and the vanilla extract and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. (this step may also be done with a hand mixer and a healthy dollop of patience!)
  3. In a plastic container, spread half the whipped cream. Top with half the blueberries. Spread the remaining cream and top with the remaining blueberries. Using a knife, swirl the ice cream. Cover and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours. Serve in waffle cones, if desired.

recipe & instructions for waffle bowls courtesy lindsay ann bakes.

Yields: 1/2 dozen mini 5″ cones/bowls (or 1/2 cup batter)
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Trace 2-4 five-inch circles on a sheet of parchment fit to the size of your baking sheet. Flip parchment paper over and place on baking sheet as a template for uniform sized cones/bowls. Create cones molds if desired out of card stock paper by cutting out 5 1/2 inch triangles, wrapping it around itself forming a cone shape, and taping to secure. Wrap the outside of the cone mold in foil or parchment paper so the cone can easily release from the mold. Make one cone mold for each circle on your parchment paper template.
Whisk together the egg white and sugars until frothy. Add butter and vanilla. Gently stir in flour until smooth.
Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet using a small offset spatula or knife, using your circle templates as a guide. Make sure they are spread out thin and even so they come out nice and crisp. Bake for about 9-11 minutes. Immediately remove from pan with a spatula and very quickly, shape your cones into mini cones or bowls.

vegan overnight oats.

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2C rolled oats

2C mashed naners

1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey //or// sweetener of choice [coconut nectar, grade b pure maple syrup, agave nectar, etc.] i am partial to my local, raw honey.

1/3C organic raw cacao [powder]

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tbsp chia seeds

2C milk of choice [almond, coconut, soy, flax, rice] *i would not recommend using cashew milk as it may thicken the consistency more than what is desirable.

mash the bananas and mix into the rolled oats. add the honey, cacao, cinnamon & chia seeds and stir until well blended. pour milk over the top and stir. cover and refrigerate overnight. top with fresh fruit, chia seeds, raw cacao nibs, etc. if desired.

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spiced cardamom blueberry pie.

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i must share first that i’m feeling a bit shocked. the lack of pie recipes on my blog is completely alarming, considering pies were sort of my gateway drug into baking. they led me to it all. and i have baked about one million. where are they all? thinking back, i realize that those pies were made during a time in my life when i was perhaps only taking photos of my bakes using a blackberry flip phone. or something like that. the shame for that phone. the regret for not taking the time to photograph food & log recipes. they’re heavy. okay so i know this [winter-ee] pie should have probably been baked during a cooler, more festive season. but it honestly went just as well for a gathering with friends in the springtime as it would have in the winter. it makes a delicious after dinner dessert. this is the least sweet pie i have ever tasted and i grew a very slow, odd appreciation for the lack of sweetness with each bite. it’s full of juniper berries, cloves, star anise, orange. . . .mmmm.

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i added cardamom to the dough recipe that i used for the blackberry & pear vanilla bean galette. & followed a blog Food Above Gold for the filling deets. a more direct link to her recipe is listed below.

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when adding the cardamom, do it to taste — it’s all about personal preference. i think i added a heaping teaspoon to the dough recipe i linked above, similar to the teaspoon Food Above Gold added to her dough. you can mix it in the food processor with the dry ingredients first so that it is well distributed. happy pie-ing! xx.

recipe courtesy — Food Above Gold.

iris’.

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sunnyside up. a cafe that is. Iris’ Sunnyside Up cafe in hopkins, located in the stann creek district of belize.

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it appears i am a whirlwind of bad luck. it began with a restaurant where nick & i had one of our first dates. the place closed down. not only did it shut down, but months following. .it was bulldozed to smithereens. and then several months ago there was Kevin’s Place. KP’s. my favorite breakfast place in the whole entire world. W-O-R-L-D. i travel a lot for a busy parent [considering our active lifestyle, two children & two pets] and i’m known to enjoy breakfasting. what i’m saying is, i’ve enjoyed a lot of breakfasts. . . .yelping my way all over north & parts of central america. coast-to-coast. top to bottom. many of the states. canada. calgary. banff. as well as all over the entire country of Belize. both high-end & slummin’ it in all of these places. and my faaaavorite place lied in a northern, quiet suburb of chicago. Kevin’s Place. a hole in the wall, literally. you’d miss it if you blinked while walking by. they shut their doors a few months back. and i cried. overly-emotional? perhaps. this month, a place that held so many meaningful travel experiences and provided us with the most fantastic breakfasts & warm company while honeymooning decided to call it quits when the lease was up.

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and omg look at the fry jacks!!!!!! iris’ were good but when we stayed in the tree-houses, those were the best! if we only went back to belize for the traditional fry jacks with beans, my heart would forever be content.

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i remember having over an hour long conversation with Maureen [the owner] one of the mornings that we biked down the long dusty road to the village for breakfast at iris’.

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she told me all about her days growing up in south africa, about her dad, her kids and their life in belize. and about her restaurant. i miss it. and we always said we would go back. there are just too many places to see in this world so i feel like repeat travels always have to be put on the back burner to the new sights & adventures we seek out. it sucks saying goodbye to all of these incredible, sentimental buildings & food & people. the people are the best part. and we somehow always manage to cling on to the best people. i suppose i’ll miss the feral kitties that hung around also.

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another one bites the dust. farewell iris’. xx.