Tag Archives: homemade

{homemade chow chow}

14 Sep

i had never heard of chow chow until i lived in the south a few years back. y’all know i’m a big fan of sauerkraut… and this has similar ingredients, but with a different taste and process. chow chow is not fermented, although i’m certain you could change the ingredients and i bet a ferment would also taste amazing!

what i enjoy about making stuff like this is you don’t have to be so specific. you can play around with different measurements and/or sizes of veggies, combinations of veggies, etc. being in the kitchen is all about exploring, and i love to “play” with my food… and that is something i will never stop doing! 😀

some recipes that i explored suggested adding green tomatoes and/or spices or hot peppers… but this is what i came up with :

simple ingredients :

  • cabbage
  • onion
  • green pepper
  • red/yellow pepper

simple brine :

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water

start by heating brine ingredients in a sauce pan on low-medium heat until salt and sugar dissolve, then allow to cool to room temperature.

if you find that you have extra brine, you can always save it for something else like pickles or whatever other veggie you may want to use.

meanwhile, finely chop up all of the veggies…

pour {slightly cooled} brine mixture over the ingredients…

take some pictures, if you fancy…

then, add lid and store in the refrigerator for about a week. you can also use this same recipe and then pressure can or water-bath can and store in the pantry.

i made it both ways and both were delicious! i have one more jar left in the pantry, and i have been using the jar in the fridge for all kinds of fun stuff! it is SO GOOD with sausage or on a pork roll/bun… it adds the perfect balance of sweet to the savory. and it’s also good as a little snack or adding it to a charcuterie board or on a cracker, etc.

one thing I do like about the “canning” method is that the texture is a little softer. heat-processing this does break down the veggies a bit more and although i like it both ways, i do prefer the canning method. the nice thing is, canning is always an option even if i start with the fridge method.


do you like and/or make chow chow?! please share your comments and/or recipes below!

 

{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!

{DIY up-cycled candles}

25 Oct

i love to repurpose things! do you feel the same way?

i know from personal experience that so many items get tossed out and/or thrown away, unnecessarily. i spent a large portion of my career in grocery retail trying to educate people on this subject… but i still don’t know if most people are acutely aware of where our “trash” goes. i feel like our society tends to have this mindset of “out of sight, out of mind.” that said, it is known that some of the highest physical peaks in parts of this country are not something like a mountain-top, but actually more like the tip-top of a landfill.

take that in for a moment… isn’t that crazy to consider?!

all of that said, i love to find ways to “up-cycle” items that would normally get thrown away or would end up in a landfill. recycling is a great option, but sometimes i think we tend to forget about the fact that we can also repurpose things. it’s easy to throw a decent glass jar into a recycling bin… but have you ever considered if you can reuse it for something else?

case and point : i have been loving these yummy french yoghurts that i have recently been buying at my local grocery store. i like them for many reasons… yes, they taste great! and that’s a major selling point! but the main reason i like them is because they come in glass jars. i LOVE to support and also repurpose products that choose to use glass… i’m all about minimizing plastic consumption!

i’ll get off my soapbox for now, but i encourage you all to think about what you throw away… and perhaps {re}consider a creative way to reuse some of the items you may normally toss out or recycle.

and now… onto today’s blog. 😉

a friend of mine gifted me some old candles that had been stored for a long time. the wicks were no longer usable, but the candles were in good condition and still had a great scent! so – i decided to take them home and reuse them to make some DIY {repurposed and up-cycled} homemade candles.

as i mentioned, i had been saving these yoghurt containers. i also repurposed some old candle containers.

i used my double-boiler that i scored at a local antique store {YAY!} i purchased the wicks and wick-holders online, and then i simply re-melted the wax and allowed it to cool slightly before pouring. this is not exactly a perfect method. there is a bit of science to candle-making, which i’ve recently discovered. temperature plays a factor, and in this case my DIY at-home method typically created a ‘sink-hole’. however, i also discovered that in my case, this issue was easily rectified with a second pour. plus, i’m not generally aiming for perfection with this project. {wow – can’t even believe i’m saying that!}

so – overall, i think they look awesome and i am proud of myself and the dedication to creation!


have you ever made your own candles and/or repurposed old ones? i would love to receive your feedback!

happy creating!

 

{thirsty thursday – homemade komucha on tap}

22 Jul

i totally need to make a detailed post about this very soon.

i have been making my own kombucha for about 3 years now and i love it so much!

my favourite flavour is ginger, which is what is pictured in this batch.

are you curious about kombucha? it’s so easy to make and it is a wonderful health tonic full of minerals, amino acids, and gut-supporting probiotics. i’ve been consuming kombucha for almost 2 decades and a few years ago i finally started making my own.

stay tuned, and i’ll post more about my scoby {lovingly named “scooby”} and all of the other fun things that go into brewing kombucha at home 🙂

{DIY bath soak – with himalayan pink salt!}

4 Dec

i love a good soak in the tub!

… it’s so relaxing and comforting. i especially love to enjoy a hot bath when i have sore muscles or if i want to fight off icky feelings possibly related to a cold or germs, or LIFE, etc. i make time to enjoy a hot bath at least once a week, but i prefer to do it twice a week. it’s a crucial part of my self-care routine, and one i look forward to enjoying as frequently as possible.

i’ve been making my own bath soak for a while now. i choose to use himalayan pink salt because it is extremely mineral-rich. sometimes i add in epsom salts or magnesium salts for additional benefits.

soaking for about 20 minutes in a rich salt bath has many rewards. of course, it’s very relaxing but it’s also detoxifying and soothing to both the nerves and the skin.

i like to play around with different ingredient mixtures depending on the season or how i am feeling. sometimes i will make an oatmeal bath for extra moisturizing.

it’s very simple and easy to make your own bath soak, and you can get creative with the ingredients. there are a lot of different recipes out there, but this is my favourite go-to that i’ve been making for quite some time now.

——

  • 2 cups himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 8-10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2-3 drops vetiver essential oil

optional ingredients :

  • ginger powder (for detoxification)
  • dried lavender (for relaxation)
  • dried flowers
  • dried sage

Continue reading

{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

{“i can make that!” – coconut flax granola}

17 Jul

i get on these kicks where i think i have all the free time in the world to constantly be making my own food… particularly, easy snacks.  i’m such a label-reader, that i’ll look at the ingredients and be like, “i can make that!” 😛

this time, it was granola.

homemadegranola-6

i had a gigantic container of organic rolled oats sitting around, waiting to be turned into breakfast vitamix cookies, but i kept forgetting to buy jelly!  so as i was grocery shopping the other day, it came to me.  “dude, audrey – you should totally make your own granola!” what inspired this was my other new favourite obsession right now – yoghurt.  i know it’s nothing new to a lot of you, but i never much cared for yoghurt and suddenly – just like sauerkraut, and eggs – i can’t seem to get enough yoghurt. so – i was completely stoked when i saw my favourite brand, noosa had introduced a coconut flavour!!! holy smokes dude.  AHH–MAZING! and i love noosa because they use milk from pasture-based cows.  LOVE THAT!

anyway, to bring it all full circle, i was like, “self, you should just buy some coconut flakes {super cheap} and use some pantry items to create your own granola to compliment this amazing yoghurt discovery!” {sometimes i do talk to myself like that} and so i did it – i bought some organic coconut flakes for about $2.00 and had the rest of the ingredients at home.  as per usual, i didn’t exactly measure – so i don’t have an actual recipe for you, but if i can wing it, you can wing it! 😉

ORGANIC HOMEMADE COCONUT FLAX GRANOLA :

– rolled oats

– maple syrup

– vanilla extract

– coconut oil

– flax seeds 

– coconut flakes Continue reading

{things i’m loving right now – bath sand}

12 Apr

bathsand-1

this was a christmas gift from my awesome landlord/neighbour and i’ve been super enjoying it during this winter and spring longest season ever.

bathsand-2

it’s been so relentlessly cold here… dark, cold, snowy, damp… did i mention cold?

nothing warms my bones like a hot salt bath.  we all know how much i luuuurrve himalayan pink salt, and i do sometimes throw it in my warm bath water. but since i have had these wonderful {hand-made} bath sand satchels, i have been using them to soak in lots of healing from the powerful dead sea salts and essential oils these adorable packages are filled with.

bathsand-3

i just love salt; it has amazing healing properties in so many ways.

sometimes nothing will comfort me like a hot salt bath. to detox the skin, the body, the pores, the aches and pains… and what i love about these great little packages is how my skin feels when i leave the water… so super soft and smooth, and smelly-good, too! 😉 ❤

{happy nom-nom-idays!}

21 Dec

nom nom… i just love this time of year.  the holidays are also all about eating, right?!  and sharing… 🙂

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like this homemade peanut brittle from a friend’s mama in michigan and homemade caramels from my wonderful neighbours -50 yards away.

my goodness they are both SO AMAZING! i completely savoured each one, and still am. it’s that kind of treat – when someone takes time to make something so incredibly delicious like this and then shares it… THAT is the true meaning of the holidays… or, the nom-nom-idays.  i think we should start making it more about food than “gifts”.  afterall, i believe food is one of THE BEST gifts you can give… and receive 😉 Continue reading

{thirsty thursday – homemade pickles and oktoberfest for days!}

24 Oct

homemadepickles-1

i have always been a HUGE fan of pickles. they are easily one of my favourite snacks. once i started making my own, i was hooked!  i have even been known to travel across the country with them… no joke.

as usual, i KISS with these.  simple ingredients :

homemadepickles-6

super easy refrigerator dill pickles :

  • 5-6 cups cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 head fresh dill
  • 2-3 cloves garlic {optional}

Continue reading

{homemade applesauce – vitamix style!}

12 Apr

as we know, i’m all about DIY in the kitchen.

between skyrocketing food prices and the need for healthy, organic, fresh food – i have to find a balance so that i can still continue eating well, but also still afford to pay rent 😉 – and honestly, owning a vitamix has helped tremendously in that arena.  even though it was a steep investment initially – it’s actually helping me save money by making a lot of things at home!

for example, this homemade applesauce.  i did make some once a while back with my potato latkes.  but i hadn’t tried it with the vitamix, yet.

applesauce isn’t something i just go out and buy.  in fact, i’m not actually much of a fan of apples. i love the flavour and i love apple juice, but i just have never been one to eat handheld fruits.  i’m more apt to eat grapes, mangos, berries, and bite-size typed fruits.  it’s just one of those idiosyncrasies of mine… i’ll eat apple slices with some nut butter, that’s more my style 😉 oorrrrr, this delicious applesauce…

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and whoa – was it easy to make!

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step 1.  buy some apples.

i opted for honeycrisp because they were on sale and approaching the end of their season… plus, these were super cute and smaller than most.  have you noticed how BIG apples are getting lately?!  it’s just not natural… i’m like “i can’t eat that in one sitting!” haha.  these honeycrisps were perfectly-sized and came in a 3-pound bag. Continue reading

{thirsty thursday} – homemade roasted pumpkin seeds w/ a belgian tripel

1 Nov

hope you all had a safe and happy halloween!  i just LOVE this time of year, don’t you?!  i love being in the kitchen more than normal… and i love busting out my crockpot… and i’m even more eager to bust out my vitamix!!  i will be doing that this weekend when i am basically a personal chef for my best friends in the rockies 🙂

i also love making my own pumpkin seeds.  they are one of my favourite snacks, and when pumpkins are on sale –  so what better time to make some?!  i paid 2 bucks for my pumpkins on a one-day sale.  i would say these average sized pumpkins yield about 2-3 cups of seeds – that’s a decent value! Continue reading

{thirsty thursday} – homemade salsa, guacamole, and ginger ale {{and GO BRONCOS!}}

30 Aug

i like making stuff myself.

salsa and guac are always so easy, super healthy, and a hit for any occasion.  i sometimes just like to have it sitting out while i’m preparing dinner or of course, during any football game. i’m so happy it’s preseason!  the broncos are playing super late tonight, so i look forward to catching the game!!!

Continue reading

{thirsty thursday} – homemade black bean & tomato hummus w/ a pumpkin ale

16 Aug

too soon?!

it’s not quite autumn, i do realize that — but the air in colorado has been changing and i even saw some yellow leaves on a green tree on my walk around the lake the other day… just sayin’ – pretty soon, they’ll be tons of corn and pumpkins!

and besides, i love blue moon beer.  i’ve tried {almost} all of their beers and i have enjoyed each one.

simple black bean hummus : 

 

– chickpeas {“this” many}

– 1 can or box black beans

– some tomatoes {did i mention how i don’t measure…}

i used these delicious little cherry tomatoes and golden nugget tomatoes. how incredible do just their names sound?!  yum.

throw those three simple ingredients in a food processor, add in a little S&P, and spin in some EVOO as needed – start with a little, add as you go if necessary…

blend until desired texture… you know, like – hummus 🙂

serve with whatever.  for lunch, i smeared some on a slice of naan bread.  pita would work, too. add in some falafel and make a wrap out of it…

or, dip some blue chips in it.  YUM!

i accompanied it with this yummy brew.

who cares if it’s kind of an autumn beer?!  it was spicy-ish, less pumpkin than spicy – at least according to my palate.  i love the colour and i really enjoyed it. warm and complex, it would be good alone as an after-dinner drink, or with a mild dish like this hummus or even a mild cheese.

{thirsty thursday} — homemade potato chips : a tribute to the east coast

9 Aug

when people ask, “where are you from?” you probably have one solid answer, right – “california, wisconsin, canada, las vegas, china, etc…” ?! well, i usually respond with, “i’m kind of from all over…” because, i am.  i mean, i just never respond with the place i was born and stop — i don’t claim one place as ‘home’ — i am really, kind of, from all over…

a little history on me :

– born in south carolina, didn’t stay long…

– lived in pennsylvania for a year {ish}

– massachusetts for like another year or so, i think…

– then maryland for a while, with some

– long summers in oklahoma

– then colorado for a while…

– long summers in virginia

– colorado again… always came back to colorado

– then back to maryland for a while

– then back to colorado

– then back east to new york

– and now here we are… once again, living in colorado.  i always come back to colorado… i suppose there is something to be said about that…?! Continue reading

{homemade edition} PICKLES!

4 Jul

happy 4th of july!!

i’ve decided to start making a lot more stuff on my own.  it’s only fitting.

and i love love love me some pickles! so when i saw kirby cucumbers {AKA pickling cucumbers} at whole foods last week, i had to snag some up.  i have always wanted to try to make my own pickles, and so this was perfect timing. Continue reading

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