Cinnamon Ginger Peach Butter

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It’s peach season here in North Carolina! Blake and I went to a little farm this past week and got more peaches than we could handle.

Who am I kidding… I can handle them!

I canned peaches yesterday, and today I gave a shot at peach butter! I’m not going to lie… I am absurdly proud of this recipe. I’m so happy with how the flavors turned out. A lot of the “butter” you find in stores is too sweet- this is JUST right. The cinnamon and ginger add extra dimension and a little spicy kick!

This is a great recipe for that fruit that is bruised or just to ripe to be palatable. #teamnofoodwaste! You can also can this recipe if you are into that… Then you can have local peaches all year around!

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Ingredients

  • 6 medium-large sized ripe peaches

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 inch nob of ginger- peeled sliced

  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or white sugar)

Method

  1. First, we have to remove the skin of the peaches! Cut all peaches in half and remove the pits. Place peaches in a small saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon place them in ice water, After soaking in ice water for 15 seconds, the skins should slide off easily. If not, return them to the boiling water for another 15 seconds and try again.

  2. Once all the skins are removed, cut the peaches in half again. Add the chunks to a small sauce pan with the 1 cup water. Bring water to a boil and them simmer for 25 mins. Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

  3. Remove the peaches from the burner. Add the peaches and ginger to a blender and puree until very smooth and no chunks remain.

  4. Add the puree to the saucepan again. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Cook the puree again over medium heat- stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn! Do this for about 15 minutes. (sorry I know it’s a while- but it’s worth it to ensure it doesn’t burn!) The point here is to cause the water to evaporate and the butter to thicken.

  5. You will know it is ready when it is thick enough to somewhat hold its shape when you stir. (Picture of this below!)

  6. Allow to cool, pour into a jar, and store in the fridge! Serve with toast or biscuits on a fine Sunday morning! 

I hope you make this and LOVE it! It will last about 2 weeks in the fridge.

xo,

meg

This is how you’ll know if it’s ready! See that texture on top? it does not immediately melt back.

This is how you’ll know if it’s ready! See that texture on top? it does not immediately melt back.

Our Great Smokies KOA Camping Trip + Campfire Recipes

Blake and I had the best time this past weekend!

My heart feels full and revitalized. Being in the woods makes me feel a certain way. It reminds me of all the power and resilience that is found in Mother Nature. In a world that can feel heavy, it is something special to immerse ourselves in unadulterated nature that is so full of hope.

People often ask - how do you remain optimistic in thinking about environmental issues? When everything seems so down and the challenges seemingly impossible to surmount?

Well, there are a few things I do - one of which is book time away. Hiking, camping, exploring. Giving myself time to be still in awe of nature.

The Great Smoky Mountains are so full of life. Blake and I stayed at the Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA Holiday. Wedged between the foothills of the Great Smokies and a the Raven Fork River, this KOA Holiday was honestly stunning.

We drove quite a way to be there, so the fact that we got to immediately walk into a cabin vs having to pitch a tent made all the difference. I was happy for it, to say the least.

Our cabin was one of the Deluxe Cabin and therefore had a full kitchen and bath. It was also quiet, secluded, and nestled away on a creek that branched from the Raven Fork River. One night we even saw a silver fox come up to the water! My background in camping being strictly tent camping, this cabin was a LUXURY for me! Haha!

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The first morning, we woke up to the sound of birds chirping. Thankfully, it was followed quickly by the smell of coffee. One of the perks of the Deluxe Cabin was having a stove top where I could heat my water for the French press!

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We cooked pancakes that first morning. These were easy and the perfect fuel for the hike we had ahead. We used my cast iron and the campfire for this, but you could have just as easily (actually more easily!) used the stove top in the cabin.


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Driving from our KOA in Cherokee to the trail heads was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had. Every scenic overlook took my breath away.

Blake and I hiked the Andrews Bald trail. It is one of the most popular, but with it being our first visit to the Smokies, we felt we had to do it. We were lucky that the trail was not crowded at all. We passed maybe a handful of people.

The altitude of the hike got to me more than I’d like to admit… or maybe I just need to do more cardio workouts. Haha! But it was all totally worth it and made our sandwiches even more tasty!

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That evening, I made steak and potatoes in the cast iron and a quinoa salad. I don’t know why or how, but food cooked while camping tastes 10000xs better. HECK, you could be eating Oscar Mayer hot dogs and they’d taste gourmet.
This recipe does not have to be made on a campfire! It can be made in a regular skillet or in a cast iron on top of a grill! (The KOA Deluxe Cabins also come with a nice grill.) Whatever you have- work with it!

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Herbed Steak and Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pound flank steak, sliced into strips

  2. 1 yellow onions, sliced

  3. 1 cup mushrooms, sliced

  4. 1 cup potatoes, wedged

  5. dried thyme and rosemary


Method:

  1. Make a cooking fire in a fire pit. The goal is to cook over coals as opposed to a crazy flame. This means you make a fire and allow it to burn down until coals remain. This is what you’ll set your cast iron on top of.

  2. Once the cast iron is heated, add the veggies to the pan. (careful! Its hot!)

  3. Cook veggies down until they are almost tender to your liking. Flip and turn often. Cook time will vary depending on the temperature of the fire. Add about 1 tbsp chopped dried rosemary and dried thyme.

  4. Move the veggies to the side and add the steak. Allow to sear on one side and then flip. Cook until medium rare. Remove cast iron immediately from the fire or heat source using THICK oven mitts. The meat and veggies will continue to cook until you are ready to eat!

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Quinoa Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked

  • ½ cup cucumber, chopped

  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped

  • ¼ cup cashews

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Simply combine all of the ingredients together! Top with the cashews and season to taste!


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Of course, a true camping dinner MUST be followed up by s’mores! You can bet we ate our fair share.

We had to leave back home the next day - I certainly wish there was more time! Blake and I are already planning our next trip with our friends. We didn’t even get to take advantage of some of the other amenities that the KOA offered - outdoor and indoor pools, hot tub/sauna, fishing, bike rentals, and more. Next time!

Cheers!

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Ginger & Turmeric Juice Shot

The Mr. and I and I have been doing a shot of this juice in the morning for the past few weeks and we’re so into it! It’s super simple and easy to make without a juicer. It’s such a good energy boost and makes my stomach feel great. 

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Ingredients:

  • 4 inch knob of ginger root

  • 2 inch knob of turmeric root

  • 4 tbsp raw honey

  • a pinch of black pepper (optional- but increases bioavailability of turmeric)

  • 4 cups of water

Method

  • Simply combine ingredients in a blender. Blend well until everything is ground. Pour through a mesh sieve into a storage glass. Dilute and sweeten as needed to fit your own preferences! The ginger can be QUITE spicy!!

  • Enjoy! It’s good for about 4 days in the fridge. If you don’t think you’ll drink that much, just cut the recipe in half.

xoxo,

meg

Traditional “Christmas Tradition” Cinnamon Rolls

Traditional “Christmas Tradition” Cinnamon Rolls

Traditional “Christmas Tradition” Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

Dough: 

  • 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees) 

  • 2 1/4 tsp active yeast 

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 5 tbsp butter, unsalted

  • 3 1/4 cup flour 

  • 1 tsp salt 

Filling:

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened 

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened 

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar 

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method:

  1. First, activate the yeast. Dissolve yeast in 3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F) Add 1/2 tsp sugar. Wait 5-10 minute for mixture to foam. (TIP: if you do not have a thermometer, heat water in a small sauce pan until it is warm enough to where it “stings” your figure, but you are able to leave your finger in the water. If you have to pull it back, it is too hot. If there is no “sting”, it is not warm enough.) If you yeast does not foam, throw it out and start over.

  2. Once yeast is done, add to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add in sugar, salt, eggs, and butter. Mix well until combined. Next, gradually add the flour. Add as much as you can until it becomes too much for the mixer. Remove from the bowl and continue to need by hand for 5-8 minutes. 

  3. Transfer dough ball to an oiled bowl. Cover with a warm bowl. Allow dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes- until dough has doubled in size. 

  4. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle- about 15X8. 

  5. In a small bowl, mix coconut sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Spread this sugar mixture all over the surface of the dough. 

  6. Tightly roll the dough into a wheel- starting at the shorter side. Cut with a sharp knife into 9 rolls.

  7. Place rolls in an oiled 9x9 inch baking dish or a round 9 in pan. Cover with a warm towel again and allow rolls to rise for another 30 mins. 

  8. Preheat oven to 350. Remove towel from rolls and bake for 20- 25 minutes. 

  9. To make the frosting: combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. 

  10. Allow rolls to cool for 5 mins before adding icing. Serve immediately. 

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Spicy Nut Biscotti

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you all! This is a family recipe that my mom and her sister’s make every Christmas- and have for as long as I can remember! Biscotti is such a great holiday gift as well! That and a bag of organic, fair trade coffee - that’s a grade A gift!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 tsp ground ginger root

  • 3 1/4 cup flour

  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chip pieces

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Method

1. Beat butter in large bowl on med to high for 30 seconds.  Add sugars, baking powder,

cinnamon nutmeg; beat till combined. Beat in eggs and gingerroot till combined.

beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining

flour with a wooden spoon. set aside 2 tbsp of the nuts. Stir in remaining

nut into dough. Divide dough in half.

2. Shape each portion into 12 in roll. Place 5 in apart on a parchment covered cookie

sheet. Flatten slightly to 2 in width. Sprinkle reserved chopped nuts on top

of loaves.

3. Bake in a 375 for 20-25 min or till lightly browned. cool 1 hour on cookie

sheet

4. Cut into 1/2 in slices bake 325 for 10 min. turn, bake 10-15 min more . cool

on wire rack

5. Melt chocolate pieces and coconut oil. Dip bottom edge of each cookie into

chocolate. (FYI- I forgot to do this step before I took my photo)


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Spike Apple Cider with Whipped Cream

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Ingredients

  • 10 apples, quartered (I used a mixture of Red Delicious and Granny Smith) 

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 4 cinnamon sticks

  • 2 tbsp whole cloves 

  • 1 tbsp nutmeg 

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream 

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 

  • spiced rum of choice


Method

  1. Quarter applies into large chunks and place them in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover them a few inches. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, sugar. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer, covered, for 2 hours. 

  2. While this is cooking, make whipped cream: place mixing bowl and whisk of a standing or electric mixer in the freezer for 20-30 mins. Pour heavy whipping cream and vanilla into the bowl and whisk on high until medium to stiff peaks form. About 1 minute. Be careful to not over beat. 

  3. Strain apple mixture through a sieve. Discard solids. 

  4. To assemble drink, pour 1.5 ounces of rum into drinking glasses. Add warm cider, and top with whipped cream. 

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Gingerbread Cookies- For Decorating & Eating!

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • 3 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1 stick (4 tbsp) softened butter

  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients: flour, spices, salt and baking soda. 

  2. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium for about 1 minute. Add the egg and beat until smooth. 

  3. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture slowly. Add the molasses and beat until well mixed.

  4. At this time, wrap your dough in beeswax wrap or saran wrap. Chill dough for about an hour. This is to prevent it from being too sticky and easier to work with. 

  5. When you are ready to bake, preheat over to 350 degrees. 

  6. On a well floured surface and a well floured rolling pin, roll out your chilled dough until it is about 1/4th inch thick. Cut cookies and using a spatula, place them on a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Save, press together, and re-roll scraps. 

  7. Before putting the cooking in the oven- make a hole in the top using a wooden skewer if you are planning on hanging them as decorations! If you forget to do this, it will be impossible to make a whole they are baked without breaking them. 

  8. Bake cookies for about 12-15 mins, or until they are dull and dry. Be careful not to overcook them if you plan on eating them! They get dry! :)

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Cheesy Potato Quiche with Cabbage, Bacon, and Leeks

I don’t know why… but quiche just screams holidays to me. It’s not like quiche is a particularly festive dish… but for some reason during the holidays, toast and peanut butter just won’t cut it. 

So this weekend, I whipped up a quiche with what I had in the fridge. You may not have heard of cabbage quiche before… but don’t knock it until you try it! haha. 

Plus, this crust turned out incredible! Minimal ingredients and gluten free. But what’s NOT tasty with butter?! Or bacon. 

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Crust

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup blanched flour

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 1/4 cup butter- chilled

  • 1 egg

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a round pie pan or baking dish well. 

  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, and salt. 

  3. Add butter and use a potato masher or fork and knife to cut into the butter. Do this until it breaks up into very small pieces and is immersed well into the flour. The dough will be crumbly. A food processor would also work well for this. 

  4. Stir in the egg. The dough will still be fairly dry and crumbly. 

  5. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan with your fingers. Press it up the sides. 

  6. Bake for 12 mins until golden brown. 

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Quiche

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs

  • 6 pieces of bacon

  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded - I used a mandolin but a sharp knife will do

  • 1 cup leeks, thin sliced 

  • 1/2 cup potatoes, small cubed  

  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 

  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Method

  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy.

  2. Remove bacon from the skillet. Keep about 1 tbsp bacon grease in the pan.

  3. Slice and clean leek. If you don’t know how to do this, read this. It’s very simple, you just want to make sure you clean them so you don’t have grit in your quiche!

  4. Add cabbage, leeks, and potatoes to the skillet on medium heat. Cook down until all the vegetables are well cooked, caramelized, and tender. 

  5. Chop bacon into small pieces.

  6. Beat eggs and cream in a large bowl with a fork. 

  7. Add bacon, veggies and cheese to eggs. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. 

  8. Cook on 375 for 30-35 mins until the center is firm and completely set. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy! 

xo,

meg

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Chai Tea Latte Concentrate

I am so thrilled to present this recipe to you all!

I LOVE chai tea lattes. Especially as the weather begins to cool down and I want to cozy up with a warm beverage. (But who am I kidding… I drink Chai lattes even when it’s 100 degrees!)

I’m a sucker for the spice of chai and the body and soul warmth that it brings. Making this concentrate is not only easy… but the aromatic spices fill your home and get you even more into the festive spirit.

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Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp black peppercorns

  • 35 whole cardamom pods

  • 25 whole cloves

  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

  • 6 tbsp loose leaf black tea

  • 6 cups water

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 6 tbsp honey

  • 6 inches fresh ginger- rough chopped

Method

  1. Toast spices: Heat a small saucepan to medium heat. (You can also use a spice toaster like I have here- I got mine from an Indian foods store and I love it). Add the cinnamon and cardamom seeds first, toast for a minute. Then add cloves and peppercorn. Toast until the spices become aromatic. 3-5 mins. Stir and shake the pan very often to prevent burning.

  2. Remove spices from heat and add to a mortal and pestle. (Something I also got from the Indian store) If you don’t have one, use the back of your knife to crush them).

  3. Add spices to the pan again. Add the fennel this time. Toast for another minute or two. Again, shaking so they do not burn.

  4. Transfer herbs to a saucepan. Add water and ginger. Bring to a boil.

  5. Turn off heat and add loose leaf tea, vanilla, and honey.

  6. Allow to sit for an hour.

  7. Strain into mason jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

  8. To make a latte, heat ¾ cup of the concentrate. Add ½ cup warmed and frothed milk.


Enjoy! (You can also enjoy it iced!)


herbs

herbs

fennel seeds

fennel seeds

toast the spices

toast the spices

Toast spices: Heat a small saucepan to medium heat. (You can also use a spice toaster like I have here- I got mine from an Indian foods store and I love it). Add the cinnamon and cardamom seeds first, toast for a minute. Then add cloves and peppercorn. Toast until the spices become aromatic. 3-5 mins. Stir and shake the pan very often to prevent burning.

Remove spices from heat and add to a mortal and pestle. (Something I also got from the Indian store) If you don’t have one, use the back of your knife to crush them).

Add spices to the pan again. Add the fennel this time. Toast for another minute or two. Again, shaking so they do not burn.

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Transfer herbs to a saucepan. Add water and ginger. Bring to a boil.

Turn off heat and add loose leaf tea, vanilla, and honey.

Allow to sit for an hour.

Strain into mason jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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