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{cool cabbage – the sequel}

19 Nov

badass back-lit cabbage leaf… because, why not!

{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

{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 

 

 

 

 

{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

{homemade relish with my homegrown cucumbers!}

11 Jul

so, as i mentioned in my last blog – i have harvested well over 200 cucumbers this year from my garden! i wish i would’ve been weighing my harvests, to get more of an idea of yields. however, looking back through the fotos i snapped every time i harvest – it’s safe to say that number is pretty accurate. crazy, right?

anyway, on top of sharing my harvests with neighbors, and consuming a cucumber a day, i also enjoy making pickles and relish with my cucumbers! that’s why i specifically grow the pickling cucumbers. that, and i just think they taste better.

i will share my pickle recipe soon, but for now i want to share this super yummy relish recipe that a good friend of mine passed along to me last year. i love it because it’s very simple and does not have added sugar. the only sweetener is honey and i think it is so well-balanced in flavour. i love add my relish to egg salad or tuna salad. it’s also just good right out of the jar!

homemade pickle relish recipe : 

  • 1.5 pounds {pickling} cucumbers, finely diced {mine was homegrown}
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1.5 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill {mine was homegrown! 🙂}
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt {i used himalayan pink salt}
  • 1 tsp celery ceeds
  • 1.5 cornstarch

directions : 

  • in large saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. simmer over medium-high head until vegetables are tender – about 8-10 minutes.
  • in small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid until smooth. add to pan and let cook another 3-5 minutes. cool.
  • use canning method to preserve, or store in airtight container, chilled, up to 1 month. also freezes well.

i made a lot more than what is pictured – this jar i gave to my neighbours. 🙂

i also tasted mine before adding the cornstarch. if i needed to increase any of the ingredients, i did. i think i added a little extra honey and vinegar to mine because i had a little more than 1.5 pounds of cucumbers. the key is to start with small amounts… you can always add more. i love the colour it turns out – that’s largely due to the turmeric.

i hope you enjoy this recipe and please do let me know if you ever try it out!

thanks for reading! 🙂

 

{1500 followers!}

10 Jul

New York City

i am so humbled to have recently welcomed my 1500th{+} follower on this cherished little blog of mine!!

thank you to all of those who have stuck around all this time. and thank you to the newcomers – i want to extend a warm welcome to all of you who chose to hit that ‘follow’ button and come play along as we talk about yummy food and pretty things, whilst taking pictures of it all!

instapics-2

as a reminder, if you don’t already – please follow me on instagram for the most recent updates on all things food&foto related. {you can also find me on facebook and pinterest.}

i appreciate all the love and support i’ve received over these last 6 years of blogging. i look forward to more adventures to come!

instapics

the most sincere appreciation to all of you, from the bottom of my heart.

—–

 

{saturdays in the garden : volume seven}

8 Jul

just a little update on the garden… my posts are not in “real time,” as it were… i’m several weeks behind in keeping up with what’s going on, currently.

for example, most of what you see in the following fotos, has been pulled from my plot. we are straight up in the heat of summer here in NC, and my tomatoes are just about all that remain. i pulled up all my broccoli, because i didn’t get it in the ground soon enough and it never formed a head. i harvested one beautiful cabbage that i’m currently making sauerkraut with. my cilantro is done… as is my dill and basil, but i planted more of both. i pulled my kale and planted arugula in its place. and my cucumbers are on their last limb, but i must’ve harvested around 200 of them this season. i have pickles for days! 😉

july will be focused on tomatoes. then in mid august, i will plant more cabbage and cucumbers and perhaps try again for more peas later in the month or toward september. i really enjoy making {and eating} sauerkraut, so i intend to plant a lot more cabbage for fall.

meanwhile, here are some pics of what late may/june were like in my plot :

so pretty and ALIVE!

still fascinated by pea tendrils… and i made lots of pesto with my basil!

oh kale, yeah!

harvest!

my beautiful cabbage! Continue reading

{foodie friday : the teeniest strawberry}

9 Jun

actually, the teeniest strawberries probably grow wild in our back yard…

but i don’t think these are edible… 😉

{a make-up blog : saturdays in the garden – volume six}

29 May

things are moving along quickly in the garden!! i actually harvested lots of kale this week and my dill is turning into a forrest! cilantro will only be here for a little while longer, and my peas are producing but will also begin to dwindle as the heat increases. i should be able to harvest some cucumbers next week. which means next month, i’ll be making some delicious pickles!! so so so excited about that!

on a community level, we have been donating over 15 pounds of collard greens each week and lots of radishes are going to donation, as well. our beans are starting to blossom, and the blueberries are coming in nicely. we also have tons of healthy tomato plants growing. june and july are the exciting months for gardening, as everything really starts to produce… i just love it.

and since i have fallen behind a little bit on updating on the garden, i am putting these fotos in gallery form, so i can squeeze them all into this post 🙂

{click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through gallery}


 

 


a {sort of} pano of my plot…

from left to right, counter-clockwise-ish :

jalapeños {hidden, back row} basil {back row}, peas {along left trellis}, lacinato kale, tomatoes {middle}, cilantro, celery, more tomatoes {middle}, cabbage, more kale {middle}, romanesco, more tomatoes, {middle}, cucumbers {along right trellis}, and dill.

i kind of planted in a zig-zag pattern…

i also squeezed in a few spinach plants throughout, but i’m not sure how they’ll fare.

thanks for following along!


how is your garden looking??! 🙂

 

 

{saturdays in the garden – volumes four & five}

13 May

i have been slightly slacking with updates on the garden. i have so many fotos to share, that i’m lumping {2} volumes together 🙂

a couple weeks ago, we had some eagle scouts come help in the garden. it was fun to see the boys get so excited about digging and planting.


 

as we prepped some of the community beds, we found some sweet potatoes! the boys were super excited about this part of the day! they collected probably 3 dozen or so, and i overheard one of them saying, “we are going to donate these!” – so charming. 🙂

i personally got so excited about this little frog i found under one of the tarps… i moved him away from the garden and let him go on his way…

planting beans!

planted okra in these plots…

radishes are so rewarding because they grow so fast!

we also planted some green onions and swiss chard…

i love it when someone brings coffee!

our garden leader shared some honey from last years harvest!! nom nom Continue reading

{saturdays in the garden – volume three}

15 Apr

things are moving along nicely at the community garden…

it’s so rewarding to interact with other people who are just as passionate as i am about gardening. having us all come together and work as a team to prep the beds and tend to the crops is just such a marvelous reality. it’s something i really wish that every single person on the planet could and would experience.

last week, we had some eagle scouts come and help work in the garden. it was quite fun seeing their excitement as they helped move tarps and logs and plant seeds. we uncovered some potatoes from last season and the boys were very eager to collect them all and “donate them” – which was so endearing.

i am forever grateful to be a part of this community garden and it pleases my soul so tremendously to engage in it all. my cucumbers, along with other plants, are sprouting and the peas are growing quite nicely… i can’t wait to share those fotos next week!

in the meantime, here are some fotos of recent days at the garden… i hope you enjoy.


 

things are growing!! radishes and lettuce…

kale and peppers…

tools!

laying mulch around the blueberry bushes…

looks so good!

transplanting raspberries…

i can’t wait to get my paws on some of those!!

fig trees! oh my, i’m excited about these, too!!!

happy bees!

side note : would you believe i got stung AGAIN!? this time – right on my nose! – i was shocked. the garden leader thinks it may have been my sunscreen, so i switched to an unscented version. let’s hope that helps! if you follow me on instagram, you saw the story. annoyingly hilarious.  Continue reading

{saturdays in the garden – volume two}

8 Apr

some updates on my community garden…


 

my uncle helped me make repurpose some materials and make these trellises for my peas and cucumbers. last year, thanks to a good friend, i learned a lot about vertical gardening… particularly, how it helps in maximizing space. since my plot is only 4 x 8, i was adamant about making sure to get the most food i could growing in there.

in particular, peas and cucumbers. they were the most fun to grow last year, and i had quite the bounty. not to mention the taste – so fresh and delicious!

i do love my garden!

another shot of my plot and trellises…

🙂 Continue reading

{it’s national beer day!}

7 Apr

i admit i am kind of disappointed in myself that i only just discovered this as of 9:07 a.m. this morning… but i will be making sure to celebrate later today! 🙂

in honour of this awesome holiday, i thought i would share some fotos of some of my favourite beers i have tried. i tend to drink beer the way i eat food – seasonally and liberally, haha.

but seriously, i like to “drink the rainbow” and i will drink beers that correlate with the seasons.

for example, now that we are in spring, i have been letting go of the darker beers and transitioning into lighter beers like wheats, belgians, and saisons. in summer you will catch me drinking IPAs, lagers, and occasional pilsners. in autumn i like my reds and of course, can’t get enough of oktobetrfests. and then when winter rolls back around i’ll divulge in browns, porters, and stouts.

i hope you enjoy! drink the rainbow! 😉

and, ya know, drink responsibly!! 

although it’s not quite time for this summerfest beer, it is one of my all-time favourite beers! it’s so clean and crisp and refreshing and has a lovely finish. this lager is very easy to drink, particularly while chillin’ on the porch and enjoying the sunset. sierra nevada is also one of my all-time favourite breweries and i’ve read online they are known for having very clean water, which is very appealing to me.

i look forward to seeing this back on the shelves.

belgain witbiers have a soft spot in my heart and belly… they were the “gateway” beer for me, once i first put down the boring bottles and opened up my palate to microbrews. i love the refreshing fruitiness of a witbier! “ZON” {meaning “sun”} has a hint of coriander and a low amount of alcohol and makes this one easy to drink – like orange juice! a very pleasing brew from the missouri-based boulevard brewing company.

although this isn’t a “red,” it has a beautiful red colour. i haven’t had this one in a while, but i remember thinking it was very interesting. “raging bitch” is a belgian-style IPA, which has interesting and complex features, as you can imagine. i am a fan of flying dog brewery, but this one is rather strong {8.3%} and it’s way more of a sipping brew, for me. delicious, nonetheless… and it pairs well with spicy food. of course, i’m a fan of flying dog brewery, since they are based in maryland.

i also happen to love the bizarre cartooning on the label.

this is a great nut brown ale! it’s well-balanced and has tremendous drinkability. not too sweet, not to bitter – it’s just right. ska brewing company has fun marketing, and they are based out of a small mountain town in colorado. i haven’t tried too many of their other beers, but this one is a go-to if/when i can find it.

ohhh, lagunitas. so full of diversity and flavour… and ABV!

seriously, the brews they come up with over there in california are super-duper strong and therefore i also enjoy sipping them… i have to watch myself because those kinds of beers will go to my head rather quickly!

undercover” is a nice and malty ale with a boozy undertone, thanks to the 9.6% ABV. it’s a beautiful colour and for some funny reason, i like drinking it while i’m munching on pickles.

new belgium is my all-time favourite brewing company. my affinity for them dates back to 2006 when i reached out to the company and had the most pleasant interaction with one of the staff members, via email. the employee-owned colorado company comes up with some of the most unique flavour combinations and i love to support their “green” mission.

giddy-up” does not disappoint in the “unique combinations” arena. brewed with espresso and lemon peel, this medium ale packs a power punch of flavours.

who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?!

put that combination together in a beer, and i’m happy as a clam. i discovered this limited edition chocolate peanut butter imperial porter shortly after moving to north carolina. this state has some funny liquor laws, but one of the benefits of it, is you can drink a beer in beer stores. they also sell a lot of “single serving” beers, so it’s fun to create your own 6-pack and sample stuff you may have never tried… which i did when purchasing this beer from horny goat brewery in wisconsin {ha – that name!}

it’s pretty much as delicious as it sounds and makes for a perfect after-dinner brew, as it basically tastes like dessert.

the ultimate “dessert beer” for me – at least until i discover something that replaces it – is this decadent porter from saranac brewing company out of new york.

i will mention, it is extremely sweet. you’ll want to drink more than one, but for me, one is enough because of the sweetness. and this brew literally tastes exactly like a s’more… it’s kind of mind-blowing. hints of graham cracker, chocolate, and even marshmallow make your palate do a happy-dance.


what are some of your favourite beers?

 

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