Category Archives: Food and beverage

the taste of lavender

Ever so often we head west and anchor ourselves down in the State of Colorado. Last fall when settling into a weekly resident in Mancos, Colorado I scuffled through Ansley’s stash of readable material and found Edible Magazine. From there started a lengthy conversation and sharing of regional recipes. The premise of Edible Magazine is to feature a region and its local, seasonal culture. (There is not one for Western NC just yet but I am definitely keeping my eye out!) I always enjoy chatting with Ansley about food, gardening and babies! Just our thing!

There were some specific recipes that caught my eye that had been shared in the spring edition of Edible San Juan Mountains. (Mancos is located in the San Juan Mountain region of CO) Excited to share Ansley’s hubs, Barry, headed to the printer to make copies for me. For nearly six months now I have been looking for an excuse to make this drink, The Green River Martini. It is infused with Honey Lavender Simple Syrup. Seriously.

When our beach trip arose and our friends, the Wheeler’s, agreed to join us for one of the two weeks I knew I had found my excuse. We headed out to the yard and picked 4 cups of fresh lavender and set it out to dry (makes two cups). Packed the lavender and the honey and loaded it to the Outer Banks. Week one consisted of making the simple syrup and letting it marinate. It smelled exactly like it was going to taste. Floral, light, heavenly.

The martini itself is a bit complicated in flavor but over ice it mellowed out and was pleasant to sip on a warm afternoon. But the syrup has many purposes. The best I’ve experienced thus far is over vanilla bean ice cream (yes!) or dolloped in a warm cup of green rice tea. The taste of lavender is delicate and floral and purely satisfactory. A pleasant way to embrace summer.

ONE LOVE-

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making the shift

Boy, is it good to be home!

Something I adore about holiday, as much as the actual holiday, is the return home. Stay away long enough and a certain deep gratification is aroused. We’ve returned to cooler temps, lovely afternoon showers and happy animals.

Also upon return is the motivation to really get things done. We’ve talked long enough. The flower beds have an appointment with my shovel and hands as well as the mulch pile. The dead locust trees have finally met their end, leaving their sole purpose to warming the fires this winter.The grass is cut, the house is clean and the corn is canned! Other projects on the to do list, each with their own appointment, will be met with determination!

Other things I appreciate about holiday is the reminders while away. When you slow down, put work aside and really partake in the break, you are reminded of things you like to do. Like, sitting on the porch and reading a book. Doing yoga. Coloring with the kid, etc. Prior to holiday I did loads of coloring, but rarely any reading and definitely not yoga. Coming home I have brought these little treats back. Making it a point to treat myself. Balance the day with 15 minutes of reading. 10 minutes of yoga in the morning. While those aren’t ideal amounts of time to indulge in these habits, it is still a treat. I don’t lose my day, my work or my time with my child. And that is exactly what a holiday is! Sweet reminders that, yes, somehow, it can all be done!

ONE LOVE-


summer bundt

Finally got around to baking the triple berry buttermilk bundt cake.

The original (grand) plan was to bake it sunday night so the kids would wake up to a pirate breakfast on monday morning. The pirate breakfast happened but the bundt cake did not. Instead, there was a marvelous spread of italian sausage, turkey bacon, eastern nc bbq and pancakes. It was that good. Got the pirate energy going!

However, the bundt cake ingredients were gathered and waiting in the side stage for their grand entrance. Determined to get it baked we decided that our beautiful, stormy afternoon was a perfect time to get it rolling for breakfast the next morning. The blueberry, strawberries and peaches collected from the fruit stand across the street were perfectly ripe. A blending we will go! (surprisingly there were no blackberries available so we went with peaches. They work magically!)

While it was moist from baking on a rainy day it turned out fantastically! If you ever find yourself on holiday with a hankering to bake something, go for it. You don’t have to have all the fancy (while those make life a lot easier) kitchen tools to get it in the oven. A little patience, a kid or two to help with the stirring and the laid back energy you gain on vacation, you can get it done. Everyone around you will appreciate it and enjoy it!

ONE LOVE-


fresh local yummy

Who says you can’t eat well on holiday?

With friends, family and birthdays upon us we have been blessed with a bounty of local goods. Enough local goods to last the remainder of the holiday and into the canner upon arrival of returning home! My brother (yea, that guy) graced our tables once again!

The corn has arrived.

As well as a bushel of fresh, local Blue Crab

It’s what’s for dinner!

For RCB’s 5th birthday (!!!!!!) we gathered around the table, cracked the crab, slurped the sweetest corn and chomped shrimp. It was fun, full of laughter, sheer enjoyment, not to mention absolutely delicious.

However, 10 of us could only eat but so much leaving us plenty of leftovers. On holiday, this is great! Lunch the next day was just as delicious and grand as the dinner. Cracked crab to make crab salad for crab rolls (mimicking lobster rolls), cut the corn and blended it with raw vegetables, ginger and jalapeno (oh. my. so. good.) for a vegetable salad. A super compliment to the crab roll.

Dinner served the shrimp its final purpose. Tossing the shrimp in some fettucini noodles with asparagus, avocado, red onion and garlic. Seasoned with sea salt, black peppercorn, and olive oil. Sprinkled with red pepper flakes and parmesan chunks. Light and satisfying, full of flavor. A nice meal to round out the rainy afternoon while sipping on a crisp white wine.

Our future consist of ferry rides, island tromping and lunch al fresco. The kids are getting their groove, sharing and playing nicely. Waves have been surfed. Sandcastles built. Epic card games played. Happy food consumed.

ONE LOVE-


the heat is on

(the sunflower. essence of summer. gifted in csa box)

I’m sure you can only imagine where we’ve been. Yep. We’ve been in the kitchen cranking up the canner. And boy have we canned some stuff. We got the green beans canned, potatoes jarred, the lemon mint vinegar put away and managed to get some beet and sage relish under our belts.

During all the time prepping, on top of the time canning, my wheels really began to churn. As we got deeper into the ebb and flow of the canning process the deeper my thoughts went. My first initial thoughts were why would anyone not want to can. The empowerment to take locally grown food and turn it into something for your family to take delight in on those long winter nights is pure pleasure. That was the first twenty minutes.

About an hour into the process I started thinking about my grandmothers, their lives and their chores as farm wives. Children, cooking, cleaning, feeding the farm help, feeding her family, tending to the family garden and canning all the goods that come from the garden. That was their job. Full time, year round, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Grandma Birdie had three children. Grandma Iris had four. Now granted they had help at the house doesn’t mean they were sipping mint julips on the porch while barking orders. No. These were farm wives. They worked their fingers to the bone.

These thoughts led me to begin thinking why women and families left such practices behind. Oh the thoughts started swirling then. Surely, women got tired of the long hours without pay and demanded more respect. No, that really wasn’t it. Not once in Birdie’s life did I ever hear her mutter one negative word about her life. It was what they did. No question. Without pay? They got paid when the crops where sold. Their duties were symbiotic with all duties required on the farm. They were part of their own ebb and flow. Duties required to make a farm successful, just like planting, watering and tending the crops.

So, if it wasn’t that then really what was the reason? We are probably two hours in now for a four hour process. A break from my thoughts to help tend to my own child and animals. Of course, I have help. My husband is partaking 100% in the processing which actually has me involved only half of the time as my predecessors. Once I return though I am right back into thought.

I start thinking back to all the farm stories I heard my entire childhood. My PopPop would gather the men all around at every family gathering and he would roar out stories. The good, the bad, the ugly. Smaller farms were getting bought out by big Corporate companies. So, what now? Maybe those wives didn’t have a choice but to find work outside of the home to help support their families. My grandmothers continued to stay home and tend to their homes, gardens, now grandchildren and canning. I do believe that the population split for many reasons. Leaving less families canning.

Bringing along the baby boomers. Our mothers. Fighting for all. Why do we have to stay home clean your mess? We won’t go into the details but strong woman became a logo in many homes. I’m certain this was the demise of canning. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful for the stand. The cause was and is great. There are more and more opportunities for women like myself to succeed in the work place. I am able to be a successful co-owner of a business that is doing extremely well. My partner, aka husband, is proud to run our business side by side. Equally. But I’m not really concerned about the political issues women face, not in this post anyway! I’m here, in thought, trying to figure out what happened to the task of canning.

Here comes my generation. Generation X. The Generation that all feared. Well, maybe not feared but with a name like that there doesn’t seem like there was much confidence in us! We are the generation, all of us, ALL men and women,  trying to find a balance between parenting, working, house chores, choosing and maintaining sustainable practices. We are trying to connect with our past and flow with the future. Make them work together. So, we both clean the house, both answer customer service calls, both tend to the child, both choose new practices and figure out how to do them together.

As we are doing this all together there still feels like there is a gap. While we were both prepping the potatoes, the water bath, the jars, and lids our child was left to entertain herself. A little TV here, torture the dog there (the dog thrives on the torture:), play with her toys in her room. All fine, positive skills. The balance was/is hard for me. I like to interact with her. We do that whole attachment parenting thing. Even though she doesn’t nurse or sleep with us anymore (all her choice) we still like to connect with her. Challenge her. Help her strive. For the time being, until she is old enough to partake, canning in the kitchen took me away from that. Some recipes take up to 4-5 hours.

So where’s the balance? It titter totters everyday for all us. It is an art we all try to master. Canning is making a come back. I love the craft. Can’t wait to teach the child. However, if you can’t find room for it in your life without throwing off all your balance then that is ok too. At the end of the day you have to do what is right for your family. Make choices with your spouse that are right for you all. As for me, I will choose specific days to can. Not go wild like last week. It was a bit heated (literally) with the canner on full steam for three and half days straight. It is hard. It is time consuming. It is rewarding. Just remember, if you choose to can, respect your time and energy. If not, that ok too.

ONE LOVE-

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full support

My Mom and Daddy have given me their full support when it comes to my canning endeavors.

Upon our arrival for a long weekend with my folks and bro I heard my Daddy say, “I need to go to the tractor supply store if you want to ride.” We piled into the four door diesel truck and headed up the road. While gathering his odds and ends he decided I needed some real canning supplies! It was premeditated on his part. No more boiling water spilling over my makeshift canner.

When we realized they were all out of canners we piled back in the truck, headed to the garden center and hardware store. They, too, said they were sold out. But when my Daddy asked about a pot for steaming oysters the guy was shocked to find a pressure cooker and canner on the shelf. The last two.

So, with canners in tow we headed to the farmers market. Green Beans, Beet Relish and a bucket of Potatoes (gifted by my brother) will hit the boiling waters this week! Stepping up the game for sure! Never used a pressure cooker before…

(Also, when I got home my Mother-in-Law had gifted my husband with a canning cookbook for Father’s Day! That’s my kind of gift! Thanks Meena!)

Thanks Daddy. Thanks Mom. Even at the age of thirty-five it is still nice to have parental support!

ONE LOVE-


little blue book

It is time to step it up a notch. Since Ball is the the mothership of all things canning I thought this would be a good book to start with.

I have been thinking and researching for some time (way too long, really) different canning recipe books. There are many to choose from on the world wide web. Too many sometimes for me. I often get overwhelmed with choices and will find myself just putting the research up only to return to it again. No real results.

Until yesterday while browsing through the grocery, casually walking by the canning section to get to the trash bags. Stuffed sloppily behind the boxes of canning supplies was the “Ball Blue Book, guide to preserving”. For once, without hesitation, I picked up the book and put it in the basket. This is a start. While it is not fancy with lots of pretty pictures it is a back to the basics book full of recipes. Pages and pages of nothing but recipes. While I use this one currently as my guide (and will remain my visual + I can’t wait to make the beet relish, missed the Strawberry Vanilla spread but did make the killer jam…) It is nice to have more recipes at my finger tips. Just adding to the loot of cook books.  A new collection.

As a side note, stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago. The book looks good. Since it is recommended by the author of said book linked above it has been put on the new list.

A few recipes picked out of the Ball Book that will get started this week. Like the one using mint. Lemon Mint Vinegar. Our friend Samantha gifted us with some spearmint (and basil) over the weekend that  will serve a good purpose for the vinegar!!

ONE LOVE-