Tag Archives: styling

Black & Blue – berry!

While we’ve been fortunate to do a fair amount of traveling this summer, there’s been no shortage of baking when we’ve been home!

A few weeks ago, I won some beautiful deep blue linen napkins (handmade by Willow Ship) and black & blue jam (concocted by SQIRL) thanks to the lovely ladies at Design*Sponge and Juniper and Scout. What to make first with these gifts? Should I slather the jam over some ricotta toast, or bake crumbly bars? Spread it on a decadent cheese board (my weakness), or make thumbprint cookies? No matter what, those napkins were going to come in handy! In the end, I went with my go-to: cake.

I chose a buttermilk cake combined with farm fresh blueberries & blackberries, a sprinkle of lemon zest, and a honey cream cheese icing, infused with locally sourced honey. The jam served as a nice layer between the icing and cake! Topped with more blueberries, blackberries, and a sprig of thyme from the garden, it was a sweet little treat for the August new moon.

Buttermilk cake with blueberries, blackberries, black & blue jam, & honey cream cheese icing

Okay, not to sound too much like Ina Garten, but if you can get local honey, it will change your life. I don’t know if I can make cream cheese icing without honey swirled into it anymore! The tiny honey bear bottle didn’t hurt, either!

While summer may be fading into fall, that doesn’t mean much for us – the temperatures are still sweltering, and we’re continuing to take advantage of late summer delicacies. Our garden is in full bloom, and I cannot help but plan our meals around our herbs – and I can’t stop adding more to the pack!

herbs for days!

Next on the baking agenda – chocolate cookies with fresh mint! We have several varieties, so I’m debating as to whether to use a bright Kentucky Colonel mint, increase the chocolate flavor with my beloved chocolate mint, or experiment with a fruity mint, like orange. What do you think?

Many thanks to Design*Sponge, Juniper and Scout, Willow Ship, & SQIRL for the goodies! I’m a strong advocate for small businesses, so please check out these great shops (and get lots of tips from Design*Sponge)!

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A Moveable Feast

Rosie and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday! We’re plant-based in this family, so we enjoyed a delicious, guilt-free, vegan feast. My darling Matt and I spent a leisurely afternoon cooking at my parents’ house, taking our time to make everything from scratch, and catching a few glimpses of the parade. Because Matt is Canadian, this was our second Thanksgiving celebration, the first having been in October for him.

The Menu:

Roasted Beets in Balsamic
• Roasted Garlicky Potatoes
• Sweet Potato Soufflé
• Roasted Cabbage
• Orange & Brown Sugar Carrots
• Traditional Sage Stuffing
• Brussels Sprouts
• Vegan Loaf with Mushroom Gravy (store bought)

‘Tis the season for root vegetables, and we’ve been cooking a lot of them, and specifically, beets. I absolutely despised beets growing up and refused to give them another try until just a few years ago. My friend, Rebecca, and I were at one of our favorite local haunts, The Bee’s Knees, a couple of summers ago, where she was happily eating a beet & peach caprese. The dish was certainly pretty- ruby red beets, luscious peaches, crumbled goat cheese, and fresh basil, all drizzled with balsamic vinegar. She encouraged me to try it, saying she makes the same dish and promised that I would at least love hers when she made it for me. This was before I went fully vegan again, so I summoned up all my courage and picked up my fork. She was right- it was perfect. Thus began my love affair with beets. I had always felt like a bad Lithuanian, not staying true to my heritage’s adoration of this hearty vegetable, and now I am pleased to say I feel worthy of my Eastern European genes once again! My dad has always loved them, so now he can no longer tease me or try to trick me into eating them!

So, yesterday, we roasted beets, and I sautéed the greens in balsamic. If you have never cooked the beet greens, you absolutely must next time (as long as they look fresh and green). They’re so delicious and full of nutrients. It’s also a plus when you can use the whole product in a meal.

Balsamic vinegar and garlic played huge roles in our dinner this year. We had an ample supply of garlic and since Matt and I are big fans, we used it in just about every dish. He roasted purple baby potatoes with a simple combination of garlic and olive oil, while I roasted cabbage (again, with the Lithuanian heritage), in garlic, olive oil, and balsamic. I also tossed some whole carrots in an orange, brown sugar, and balsamic mixture, having been inspired by EverKind‘s Thanksgiving blog post. We rounded out the meal with my special sweet potato soufflé, my mom’s dressing, Brussels sprouts, and a surprise vegan loaf with mushroom gravy that my mom had gotten for us. Needless to say, we have lots of leftovers, some of which I partook in for lunch today!

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I’m usually the self-professed Queen of Baking, but was so into cooking the meal this year, I ended up not making a dessert. I definitely felt weird not having anything sweet to produce! I’ve been feeling a little under the weather today (another Thanksgiving tradition and one I’d be happy to get rid of), but that hasn’t stopped my craving to bake. EverKind shared a quick and easy recipe for Holiday Dessert Rolls, and not wanting to exhaust myself even further by making a big production out of dessert, I decided to give this time-saver a try. The best part? I never knew that Crescent Rolls are vegan! I grabbed a can of them at the store, the chopped up some semi sweet chocolate, grated some cinnamon, sliced up a banana, and baked at 375° for 11 minutes. Topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a little more grated cinnamon, and a drizzle of some Ah-Laska chocolate syrup- voilà!

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Paired with some soy nog spiked with cinnamon, my sweet tooth has been satiated.

But I wasn’t the only one to have a nice holiday- Matt made sweet Rosie a special plate of scrambled eggs (she’s not vegan 😉 ) as a treat last night- she’s such a lucky lady!

And with that, the holidays are officially here! What are you looking forward to the most this season?

Happy Holidays!