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{homemade infused butter}

29 Apr

i’m calling this “infused” – with grass fed butter, shallots, garlic, rosemary, and thyme…


heated on low for 10-15 minutes until melted and then cooled…

apparently this changes the structure of the butter, but i use it for when i cook steak and it seems to do fine…

i just freeze it after i melt/infuse it and it use it to baste in the cast iron!


what do you think of this method? have you ever tried it?

 

{new garden season!}

15 Feb

hey y’all!

it’s a bit early in the year for such things, but this area in the northeast offered some nice weather this past weekend, so i was eager to get outside and get my hands in the dirt! as you know, there isn’t much that makes me feel happier than being in nature – and especially, being in a garden!!!

#farmeraudrey

it pleases me to say – that i finally found a community garden that is only about 15 minutes from where i currently live. i am so excited about it! i was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the plot i adopted is about 3 times the size of the last one i took care of in north carolina! this gives me so many ideas on what to plant, and i am feeling so grateful!!!

please stay tuned… as there will be more updates to come… but for now, here’s a brief overview of the work i did this past saturday when the temperatures were in the high 50s!

before…

during…

after…

the person who took care of this plot last season planted lots of beautiful garlic and onions… which apparently are mine now! and although i am very grateful to have them, i will have to figure out what to do with some of the crops since ultimately i will need to have access to the foundation before it’s time to harvest them…

also – i feel like it doesn’t look like i did much {haha}… and i still have a lot of work to do… but i was there for about 3 hours and i was able to clear out a lot of weeds, etc… i also brought a souvenir home, in the form of a slight rash on my arms from all of the random things i was pulling out of the ground and off the fence line, in my attempt to start prepping the soil {haha!} but fret not, my body and skin are just fine now… that said – next time, i ought to consider and/or be more conscious about wearing longer sleeves… sometimes i just get right into the thick of things, without thinking much… 😉


are you prepping for a garden this year? please comment and share what you plan on growing and any tips you may have! i love to hear from and talk with fellow gardeners! ❤

also – please follow me on instagram for more updates!

 

 

{maryland crab cakes – food and foto style}

5 Nov

a little ramble to preface this post…

i just love living in maryland once again! this is my home. i’ve traveled all around this country and lived in several different states, and yet i came back here… so i feel like there’s something to be said about that. one of the things i love most about maryland is the seafood! every time i lived anywhere else, i was always trying to recreate the seafood experience that exists in this region. i remember one time when i was in colorado, i actually paid to have some maryland crabs shipped to me because i was craving them so intensely! at the time, i was working for a specialty market that was able to hook me up, so that was awesome!

i swear i could eat steamed maryland blue crabs every single day… 24/7/365! during the summer months, i splurge a little and treat myself to them once or twice a month. now that the season is ending, i’m feeling a little sad and will miss enjoying them on the regular. that said, i was gifted some crabs last week by some loving and generous people, so i ate some {most!} and picked the rest and saved them for crab cakes. actually, i was going to save the meat and freeze it for making some crab soup over the winter… but i decided to whip up these crab cakes instead. i guess that means i should eat crabs one more time before the weekend so i can save the meat for winter! {do you understand my logic?! ;)}

did you know that late summer / early autumn is actually the best time for enjoying steamed maryland blue crabs? it’s mostly because they have beens swimming around and eating all summer and getting bigger and therefore more full and delicious!

i used to be so intimidated by making crab cakes because it is the ultimate maryland delicacy and i felt like there was no way i could make a good one. and then on a random sunday, i just went for it! i kept the recipe simple, as you know we like to do around here, and they turned out terrific! typically i don’t eat a lot of fried foods, but in this case i prefer the fried crab cake over the broiled or baked. at least when i make them at home… it just seams to taste better that way.

here’s a little foto story about my recent crab cake making journey…

i started with about 2 cups crab meat {that i hand-picked}, one egg, and roughly 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mustard, and then i heavy-handedly sprinkled in some old bay…

i gently mixed the bread crumbs, old bay, and crab meat together… then mixed the egg, mayo, and mustard together…

i gently blended the wet and dry ingredients {don’t want to over-mix, need to keep it lumpy!} then put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes…

finally, i created two patties and fried them in vegetable oil until crisp and golden brown on each side. i served with a mayo/mustard combo dip and old bay garnish.

may i just say i am SUPER proud of myself for doing this?! these crab cakes turned out so delicious and i am glad i got beyond my fear because now i have one other dish to add to my recipe repertoire and to share with those i love!


do you like crab cakes? or seafood for that matter? comment your favs below!

{autumn is for all things pumpkin!}

31 Oct

particularly on halloween, right?!

as you know, i prefer to eat seasonally so i’m on my squash and pumpkin kick at the moment. the farmers markets are closing this weekend or next, so i want to get out and stock up before they are done for the season.

contrary to popular opinion, i don’t do pumpkin lattes. they are too usually sweet for me. i do, however, tend to eat my weight in pumpkin seeds!

i simply cut a pumpkin open, carefully dig out the seeds, soak them for about an hour, then toss them with some olive oil and S&P and throw them in the air fryer for about 15 minutes. they don’t last long… they are so crispy and delicious! this was the firs time i tried making them in the air fryer. i have always baked them, but i’m so glad i tried it because they turned out amazing and in less time! i am eager to make more.

once i’ve devoured half of my pumpkin seed supply {haha!}… i scoop out the roasted pumpkin guts, add a little water, blend in the vitamix, pour in a large pan with some homemade veggie stock, add some spices, and serve with pepitas and mini toasts… NOM NOM!

i made a huge batch of this soup and so i froze some, canned some, and shared some…

both of these recipes are on par with my motto – KISS – keep it seriously simple. they are also healthy and support the 100-mile diet concept. i hope you enjoy and please comment if you try or have ideas of your own to share!

oh, and here’s the costume i wear every year – my “pumpkin king” onesie!

happy halloween!

{funky fungi}

6 Oct

speaking of mushrooms and fungi – check out this fantastic wild funky fungi that was recently gifted to me. apparently it’s edible, but it was just a little passed its prime when i got my hands on it. this amazing thing grows wild on a tree in a friend’s backyard. i wish i could remember the name. perhaps she will remind me before i decide to post this blog. another good friend of mine said it looked like a brain – haha. {he’s constantly saying silly things like that}

i love the golden colour! it reminds me of {yummy!} chanterelle mushrooms, but i was informed that this is technically a fungi. so now i’m curious about which is which… how to distinguish the difference, if there is one?! i think it may have something to do with the underside – the gills?! i’m going to do more research, and i welcome any insight from my amazing readers and/or forager friends!

so without further ado, here are some artistic fotos i took of this fascinating creation from our incredible earth.


update 03/17/22 : i am pretty confident that this is a “chicken of the woods” mushroom”… 


 

it does kind of look like a brain in this foto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{sunday (funday) snacks}

18 Jul

speaking of eating seasonally and such…

on sundays lately, i’ve been curating a platter fully of yummy and healthy snacks to eat in leiu of lunch or dinner. i’ll have it out while i am cooking or relaxing or whatever else and just kind of graze on the snacks… basically all day.

here are a couple of pics of how i spent my last 2 sundays :

chianti-wine aged salami, garlic-herb wafer crackers, fresh avocado, fresh pineapple, locally-grown cherries, blueberries, & peaches, super thin pretzels, roasted mixed nuts, truffle parmesan crisps, dehydrated apples, apricots, dates, various chocolate, and a homemade kombucha spritzer mocktail

homemade tuna salad, organic mini toasts, garlic-herb salami, smoked oysters, mixed nuts, homemade pickles, fermented radishes, locally-grown broccoli & cauliflower, fresh avocado, dates, apricots, locally-grown blackberries & peaches, and a ginger tonic mocktail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{bodacious blood oranges}

14 Dec

i think it is so incredible how nature provides us with the right types of food for each season.

for example – blood oranges are in season from december to march. which is the perfect time to consume them for that extra vitamin c punch during the winter months!

and aren’t they just so magical?!

{foto friday : cool cabbage}

12 Oct

the details on the leaves of plants such as cabbage completely fascinate me!

 

{homemade gummy bears}

9 Oct

i have been making my own homemade gummy bears for a while now, and i have been meaning to write a post about it…

i have always loved fruit snacks, gummy bears, et al. however, the ingredient list always detoured me – even the natural ones are full of mostly sugar.

so, i did some research and realized that i could be making my own gummy fruit snacks! and not only that, but i could make them GOOD for me!

my curiosity was piqued when i started looking for a clean source of gelatin to help with collagen production and joint support.

…which i don’t have pictured here because i typically transfer everything i buy into a glass jar… {no shame in my game}…

anyway, i wanted to incorporate gelatin into my diet and that’s when i got super stoked about the idea of making my own gummies! so i found these silicon molds on amazon {along with the gelatin} and looked up a few recipes to get me started.

as usual, i like to keep things as simple as possible. some recipes call for honey or a sweetener, but i like to avoid added sugar where i can {so i can guiltlessly enjoy a candy bar from time-to-time}.

so – here is my very simple {2-ingredient!} homemade gummy fruit snack recipe – which yields about 200 gummies and the ratio can be adjusted accordingly :

  • 1 cup fruit juice {i usually opt for concord grape}
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder

you could add in some honey or agave for sweetness, but i find the concord grape juice to be sweet enough on its own.

sometimes i’ll add in some elderberry syrup for additional health benefits during the cold-season months. Continue reading

{simple (rainbow) pasta salad}

22 Sep

as you probably know by now, i like to eat with the seasons as much as i possibly can. i enjoy it for lots of reasons. i always look forward to eating whatever vegetables or fruit are best during that particular time of year… and it makes me appreciate them more.

that said, i often struggle with “transitional” times of year – such as the month of september. i find myself unsure about what to wear, what to eat, when to go to sleep. it’s kind of funny but it’s true. {this also applies in the month of may.}

anyway, because i find september to be a transitional month, i also find myself eating transitional foods. i made that term up, but my point is that i’m not ready to start eating soups and squash, but i’m also done with light foods like salads and such. during this transitional time, i usually prepare foods that can be enjoyed hot or cold. and pasta salad is one of those dishes i could enjoy every day during transitional months.

i also really love orzo and i don’t use it often enough.

i whipped up this simple {rainbow} pasta salad and made a huge batch to take to work for lunches.

it’s so easy and so i thought i’d share the recipe… even though i didn’t measure anything, as per usual… but it’s so simple – just chop and toss!

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simple pasta salad : 

  • cooked orzo
  • diced summer sausage
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced olives {black & green}
  • diced red onion
  • diced banana pepper
  • diced green pepper
  • diced cucumber
  • roasted garlic
  • crumbled parmigiano reggiano

homemade dressing :

  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • spices :
    • oregano
    • sage
    • parsley
    • comfrey
    • basil
    • dill
    • tarragon
    • garlic
    • onion
    • salt
    • pepper
    • bit o’ parm reg

 

i like to serve mine at room temperature and i sprinkle crumbled italian breadsticks on top…

SO GOOD!

 

{last watermelon of the season}

21 Sep

who doesn’t love a melon-baller!?!!

 

 

 

{meatless monday : a flavourful riced cauliflower dish}

9 Jul

i made this delicious riced cauliflower one-pot make-ahead meal for lunch last week and it was so yummy, i just had to share the recipe! i love experimenting with random things in the fridge!

i’ve been really into using riced cauliflower as a replacement for grains and it does a wonderful job as an understudy. 😉

riced cauliflower has a great texture and maintains it well during the cooking process. i’ve purchased it both fresh and frozen and they both seem to hold up just fine.

i made this dish as i was trying to use up some leftover ingredients such as frozen asparagus from another recipe. i also had some frozen jalapeños that i grew last year and wanted to use.


so this is what i came up with {amounts are “ish”} :

  • 16 oz. fresh riced cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup diced asparagus {mine was frozen}
  • 1 medium size jalapeño, diced {ribs and seeds removed}
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste

heat some butter or oil of choice on medium heat and toss in riced cauiflower. cook slowly until al dente. add in asparagus and jalapeño, cook until slightly tender then throw in black beans and corn and cook for another minute or so. sprinkle in hot sauce and spices and toss together. keeps well in the fridge for a few days. can be frozen for future consumption.

organic chicken or grass-fed ground beef makes a nice addition to this recipe. i made this one vegan because i like to eat vegan at least once a week… not for any particular reason other than keeping things in balance 😉


and i just-so-happen to love cumin! it’s one of my favourite spices… do you like cumin?

 

 

{happy (belated) asparagus season!}

18 Jun

i’ve been getting my fill of delicious organic asparagus!

it is a marvelous food to eat in spring because it is very cleansing to the body and blood. asparagus is also in season during the spring, which just further proves how awesome and intelligent nature is! 🙂

i like to enjoy asparagus raw or lightly sautéed in grass-fed butter with a dash of himalayan pink salt and black pepper. sometimes i like to add it to risotto with wild mushrooms. when i lived in the mountains years ago, i had a lot of fun foraging for asparagus because it grows wild on the western slope of colorado. pretty cool, huh?!

a tip for keeping asparagus : treat it like fresh-cut flowers. keep the ends trimmed and leave them in a little water in the fridge until ready to use. 

do you love asparagus? how do you like to prepare yours?

{i am a ritualist}

12 Jun

what can i say?! … i am a creature of habit.

i believe i have always been this way, but i don’t believe i have always lived this way…

over the last couple of years i have been particularly adamant about creating a healthy routine in my life… i have found myself purposefully setting intentions of a grounding “ritual” in my daily life from which i could draw strength.

at the very core of those routines and rituals is my desire for overall well-being.

i’m talking about wellness – inside and out – a sense of harmony… and i do believe that all starts within.

the more within myself i look, the more i realize that i absolutely THRIVE in routine. i believe part of that is because i recognize that all living things are in routine… and all living things exist by “obeying” certain laws of nature, many of which we as human beings are more removed from than i would prefer. nature is cyclical, and it is {for the most part} pretty predictable… therefore, nature also thrives in routine.

think about it…

all that to say, the more in touch with nature i’ve become, the more i’ve realized that i am as much a part of nature as nature itself. my body thrives in rhythm and routine, just as nature does.

one of the things i have been wanting to adopt as part of my healthy routine was including a daily vitamin supplement. although i generally eat a very well-balanced healthy diet, i’ve frequently struggled with finding a vitamin supplement that fit my desire for harmony and also fit my standards for well-being… which, i admit, are pretty high. 😉

and so it is with great enthusiasm that i say – I FOUND THAT!

which brings me to my purpose for creating this blogpost… my new best friend :

my ritual vitamins.

these wonderful vitamins came into my life serendipitously… as do most things that are “meant to be.” 🙂

as i said, i had already set the intent of finding a vitamin to add to my daily routine that would give me what i was looking for… an extension of my already healthy lifestyle choices, and SIMPLICITY.

what i love most about ritual is their simplicity. they have taken the guesswork out for us. instead of stuffing a tablet with unnecessary fillers and/or many of the nutrients that come from an already healthy diet, they’ve only included the 9 nutrients that most women lack or are deficient in… basically, it does what i have always believed a vitamin supplement should do… supplement, or as they say – “fill in the gaps”…


the 9 essential nutrients in ritual are :

  • vitamin K2
  • vitamin D3
  • vitamin B12
  • boron
  • iron
  • vitamin E
  • magnesium
  • folate
  • omega-3

so, instead of buying upwards of 4 or 5 bottles of different supplements, many of which include unnecessary fillers, you get all you need in 2 daily capsules. part of the allure for me is that it truly epitomizes the concept of “less is more.”

another reason i love ritual is the transparency – literally and figuratively speaking. the capsules are literally see-through… and the company is transparent by allowing the consumer to trace the source of each ingredient on their website.

ritual vitamins are made for women. they are non-gmo, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and the company was founded by a woman. these vitamins are designed specifically for women. for one dollar a day, you can invest in your health by supporting an outstanding company that is truly revolutionizing the vitamin industry. plus, you get bioavailable nutrients that help you look and feel your best.

i have chosen to be an ambassador for this incredible brand because i believe in their mission and i am an advocate for voting with your dollars, as in putting your money where it matters. the $30 a month investment is one that provides a wealth of health.

please visit this link to start your ritual today : food and foto loves ritual

and stay tuned for my personal review on how this vitamin supplement has affected my overall well-being.


 

{gracefully coffee roasters}

8 May

i have this on again/off again thing with coffee.

mostly, we’re on.

i love coffee, and i especially love espresso! but sometimes, i don’t like the effects of the caffeine associated with coffee and espresso. and drinking decaf just doesn’t appeal to me… nor does it have the same complex flavour {in my opinion}, which is the main reason i love to drink coffee.

i prefer dark roasts for the robust flavour and lower{ish} caffeine content, and i drink it with a {generous} dash of heavy cream. when i worked as a barista, i would sip on an iced cortado just about every day. over the years, i’ve learned how to strike a balance with it and ultimately listen to my body as to when to be “on” coffee, and when to be “off” it.

do any of you have a similar experience?

anyway, this post is about some super yummy coffee made in small batches by an equally yummy and awesome company : gracefully coffee roasters.

i got this TOTALLY DELICIOUS coffee as a christmas gift last year and i wish i still had some because it was out-of-this world amazing! this particular batch was a medium roast with hints of peanut butter and chocolate. now, i don’t know if it was just the power of suggestion in their awesome marketing description or what – but i’m telling you, that first sip of coffee tasted like a creamy chocolate peanut butter cup.

gracefully coffee roasters are true masters of their craft. one easily gets a sense of how much passion and care they pour into their coffee roasts. they offer monthly subscription boxes so you can try new coffee all the time! they also have yummy tea!

check out their website and show a little love… 😉

{foodie/foto/flashback friday – spring/garden fever}

9 Mar

seriously, though… is it time to garden, yet?! i am so eager to get out and play in the dirt!

i definitely want to grow some {organic} cabbage again this year!

here’s a little flashback friday for ya : to that ONE i grew last year and turned into delicious sauerkraut!


hope you have a great weekend!

{seriously obsessed with spices}

5 Feb

everyone knows i love to cook.

for the most part, i keep it super simple when making meals. and my philosophy is :

quality in = quality out.

in other words – if you start with good ingredients, you generally end with a good meal…

i have only recently begun experimenting with spices in my cooking. i have been collecting spice jars over the last few years, as i was gypsy-ing around the country… and when i settled in a place i feel at home in, i felt super excited to finally display my spice jars.

i received these cool 3-tiered bamboo spice racks as a christmas gift, and i was so eager to get my spice jars out of the cabinet and onto the counter.

it’s the little things, right?!

something about seeing this beautiful rainbow collection of spices just makes me feel so happy inside. and it’s really been fun to experiment with the different aromas/flavours.

of course, in true audrey michelle form, i alphabetized my spices.

here’s what is in my collection :

  • some kind of awesome spice my friend brought me from argentina 
  • all-spice
  • bay leaves
  • celery seed
  • chives
  • cilantro {homegrown and dried}
  • cinnamon
  • comfrey
  • coriander 
  • cumin
  • curry powder
  • dill {homegrown and dried}
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • herbs de province 
  • kelp 
  • lemon peel 
  • marjoram 
  • nutmeg
  • old bay seasoning (can’t live without it)
  • onion
  • oregano 
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • pickling spices
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • sesame seed (black)
  • salt (black)
  • tarragon (LOVE THIS STUFF!)
  • turmeric
  • saffron 
  • vanilla 

 

 

 

 

{foodie friday : vegetarian buffalo cauliflower bites}

2 Feb

i kind of made these by accident… as in, i-got-super-hungry-and-didn’t-have-much-in-the-fridge-to-eat-but-got-creative-and made-these-buffalo-cauliflower-bites-which-accidentally-turned-out-to-be-ahhhmazing!

…and so i just had to share the recipe. these {veggie} buffalo cauliflower bites would make a great game-day snack for superbowl sunday! and they are a great vegetarian alternative to the classic buffalo wing. {i would devour both!}

i was inspired to make this dish because i was scrolling through instagram and spotted a recipe for cauliflower florets that were battered & fried, and served with buffalo sauce and ranch – like a chicken wing! and i was thinking, “that’s probably sooooo delicious!” 

then i remembered that i had frozen riced cauliflower, and i created my own version based on what i had in the fridge…

very simple ingredients : 

  • frozen riced cauliflower
  • chopped celery hearts
  • buffalo sauce {i opt for franks!}
  • ranch dressing {i use brianna’s!}

i began by chopping the celery into approximately 1-inch pieces…

next, i sautéed the cauliflower with a little butter over medium to high heat, adding a little water as i went along to soften the cauliflower a bit more…

then, i added in some buffalo sauce to taste, and cooked until almost al dente…

finally, i scooped some of the cauliflower mixture into the celery bites and drizzled a little ranch dressing on top. it can be a little messy, but that’s what buffalo sauce is all about, right?! 😉

these little buffalo cauliflower bites are soooooo yummy and i will definitely be making them on game-day! it’s always funny to me when i cook something on the fly and it turns out to be my new favourite thing ever.

this was one of those recipes. 🙂


by the way, i didn’t watch one single football game this season, and i could care less about the patriots or the eagles… but it should still be a fun day full of snacks and silliness!

{the most delicious holiday chocolate!}

18 Dec

i am so grateful for fellow foodie friends who get me! and who send me delicious treats like these decadent holiday-inspired chocolates… that look like logs for a cozy christmas fire! aren’t the beautiful?!

and my goodness they were delicious! 

i’m not certain, but i believe the flavours were :

  • dark chocolate almond
  • dark chocolate w/ sea salt and peppermint filling
  • milk chocolate w/ peanut butter filling

needless to say, they didn’t last too long… 

 

{thirsty thursday – octoberfest time!}

12 Oct

hey friends!

it’s been a while… and i have lots to fill you in on. for now, i wanted to share some of my favorite beers with you. i’m discovering more all the time, as north carolina has some great microbrews!


although you can catch me drinking sam adams’ octoberfest beer pretty much all the way through thanksgiving, i have a few other kinds of beers i like to drink this time of year…

flying dog does a great belgian-style IPA, which helps me transition from summer to fall…

this was an interesting ale… i haven’t seen it since this one time i tried it…

Continue reading

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