The Table

In The Kitchen: Where and How to Shop

682 1024 Libby Absten

I love how much time have been able to spend in the kitchen lately! I have mentioned this before, but being able to take extra time planning meals and cooking has become a new routine in this season that I have come to love so much. Eating healthy and knowing what I an consuming has always been a big part of my life, but now more than ever I feel like it’s a passion of mine that has really developed with more time to practice it! 

On the blog, I have started a new series called In The Kitchen, and over the last few weeks I have talked about adding new purpose to your cooking routine and have given some practical tips on ways to maximize the life of your fresh groceries. This week I thought it would be helpful to talk about where I shop for my groceries and a few tips on how to shop – Things that I think can so often be overlooked in the day to day of a week spent at home or the craziness and potential fear of grocery environments lately. 

WHERE TO SHOP

One of my very favorite things about this time has been the discovery of our local farm. While Jase and I are so lucky to have one close enough for us to go to, the idea of shopping local and supporting small businesses has been a value instilled in me during this time that I will not leave behind! 

While many of us may have the first thought that shopping small comes at a greater expense, many things like produce, especially fruit and veggies, can actually be cheaper or often on sale and at a better quality, ultimately lasting you longer than your nearby chain grocer. 

Shopping small or local is also a great way to cut out on the stress of the grocery store during this time! When you relieve yourself of the many negative emotions that can so often be identified with a stop at the store, this activity can actually become a cherished part of your routine. I know for me, I love showing up to my local spot and taking time to see what fresh picks are available – wandering up and down the rows (while practicing safe distancing, of course) and taking it all in! This care that I have developed in my routine for where I shop and what I buy has caused me to have even greater care and excitement in what I prepare. I cook based on my inspiration from the ingredients purchased. It has been a game-changer for me!

Another great place to shop, that isn’t so small, can be Whole Foods. While this was often considered not within budget for many families, the new deals and offers that have been extended to Amazon Prime Members (which so many of us are!) makes it practical once again. It’s also a great option for those pantry items that can be more expensive at your local spot. Things like nut butters, canned goods, healthy snacks and treats, or alternative milks are actually similarly priced (or on sale / specially priced) to your opposing chain grocer and oftentimes made with more quality or organic ingredients! Such a win.

HOW TO SHOP

Now that the stress has been relieved from dreaded trips to the grocery store, the need for a detailed list of things to get in and get out as fast as possible has also gone out the window. While I have my routine items I always get – protein options, potatoes, pastured eggs, leafy greens, and nuts – I also make room in my trip to look at what’s freshly available and think of meals I can create using what’s right in front of me! 

A great way to start doing this is to shop for more universal items that can be created or added to anything. Items like sweet or regular potatoes can be chopped into quarters for a tray of roasted veggies with broccoli, zucchini, onion, and asparagus – or cut vertically and baked into fries! Proteins like pastured chicken or ground grass-fed beef can be added on top of fresh greens and healthy grains with roasted veggies to make into a warm bowl or served on top of a crisp salad. Your pantry items like noodles, canned foods, or nuts can be cooked or chopped and mixed into any meal to add a different texture or a more filling variety. And fresh herbs and spices can take any meal to the next level!

There are just so many options, but the goal when first starting is to shop for a variety of versatile fresh foods that can work together and then let your creativity work as you go throughout your week! 

A FEW OF MY GROCERY STAPLES 

  • Pastured eggs
  • Organic almond butter
  • Organic raw nuts for making home-made nut milk
  • Organic spring onions
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Raw butter
  • Siete tortillas and chips
  • Siete hot sauce
  • Organic dinosaur kale
  • Organic lettuces
  • Organic red peppers
  • Organic green beans
  • Organic garlic
  • Organic white rice
  • Organic potatoes – purple, red, sweet
  • Organic tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Organic fresh spices – cilantro, basil, dill, mint, oregano, sage (we grow these in our garden but are a must!)
  • Organic beets

Where are you shopping in this season, and what healthy recipes are you making in your kitchen? I’d love to hear from you! Follow along with my kitchen routine here on the blog or at my Instagram where I often post meals I’m making or grocery items I’m grabbing. xo

In The Kitchen: Adding Life to Your Groceries

485 727 Lauren Kennedy

Last week on the blog I started a new collection of talks around being In The Kitchen. I don’t know about you, but here at LSK we’ve been talking so much about how this time has changed everything for us. Things that we used to think were such a chore have now become a cherished part of our routine, and we’re finding ourselves digging into new passions like never before. One of those passions for me has been spending time in the kitchen – taking extra care in what I prepare, and all the steps along the way.

With things being the way they are recently, I’ve been thinking so much more about what I use and how I use it. This week I want to share a few tips on how to preserve those precious groceries we’re buying and make them last as long as possible in order to reduce waste and save on fewer trips to pick up groceries.

More than ever, I think I am realizing why my mom is almost mentally trained not to waste any food considering the culture during her childhood. I always had no problem tossing certain things, but now I have a greater appreciation for what I put in my straw bag at the farm shop. These times have brought more scarcity than we have experienced in our lives, and I am all about making my produce last as long as possible + for the first time have researched what veggies remain fresh for longer.

I wanted to share some tips that have really helped me. It has been such a new topic to educate myself on!

SHELF LIFE

This article and graphic have both taught me so much!

 

 

WASHING

  • Rinse with water. You can use a vegetable brush on tougher roots.
  • Veggies will hold the longest if you wait to wash them right before use.

TOOLS

  • Swag Bags: It keeps our veggies fresh for up to two weeks + they are made with the healthiest materials.
  • Almond Cow: Jase and I were having a hard time keeping almond milk in stock. It was always out at the grocery store after quarantine started, so this has been an absolute game-changer. And it only takes 5 minutes!

HERBS

  • Your herbs will be happiest standing in a glass of water, where just the stems are wet.
  • Store in the fridge or on the counter.

ROOTS

  • Store in the refrigerator in a container with some airflow.
  • Keep potatoes in a paper bag to minimize light exposure (that is what causes them to sprout!).

GREENS

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • They like a little moisture but not too much. Sometimes it helps to add a damp paper towel into the container.

TIPS

  • If you feel like you won’t use your veggies or fruit before they will get bad, freeze them! Did you know even raw butter and cheese freezes well? Cut, peel, and remove excess from your produce, and store in these biodegradable storage bags.
  • With bread that is going bad, make croutons!

Info source: @wearebrightland

Thanksgiving Family Traditions

1024 683 Melissa Mayer

Hi guys!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday spent relaxing and having fun with friends and family. It is such a special, cozy time of the year. When it comes to Thanksgiving family traditions, being home in Dallas, TX first comes to mind! The day before Thanksgiving (AKA, today) our whole family is cooking and baking all day – it may be my favorite day of the year! We always plan the Thanksgiving meal plan a few weeks before, and then we go for it in the kitchen on Wednesday.

Every Thanksgiving morning, we wake up in our PJs and watch the parade.  You can guarantee that we will be drinking celery juice while watching! Since we are in Dallas, we go for a long walk almost every day, but specifically on Thanksgiving, we go for a walk to the park in the neighborhood and play football! It’s been a long standing tradition and it is so so fun. But on that Wednesday of cooking, we are in our PJs all day long and most of the day on Thanksgiving 🙂

We also have people over Thanksgiving eve for dinner that had no where to go for the holiday – usually it is close family friends that are not spending it with their kids that year because they are with the in laws or we have single friends over who couldn’t go home to see their family. It is extra special and always such a blast!

When it comes to the menu, we honestly always look up new recipes each year. They are all nutrition filled and extra healthy but so delicious! This year, these are a few things we are planning on:

A massive salad

A smoked tenderloin in the oven all day

A pastured turkey

Roasted sweet potatoes

A yummy veggie of some sort

Dessert from the Sweet Laurel cookbook this year

Homemade bread

This Thanksgiving Day I specifically want to say a prayer for California. It has been such a tough time recently for the State that Jason and I call home between the shooting and the wildfire, and we are thinking of the individuals and families who are walking through loss and pain right now. Praying that God’s comfort, love, and strength covers you every moment of each day.

With love,

Lo.

OUTFIT: tee | pants (c/o Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive Clothing Line)

A Clean-Crafted Wine Website You Need To Know About

524 699 Melissa Mayer

Happy Friday, LSK readers! For those who are 21 and older, we write with exciting information today…meet a clean-crafted wine website you NEED to know about: Scout & Cellar. Their selection of wines are all clean-crafted, meaning free of added chemicals, the grapes are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, and there is no added sugar. Yes, please!

We were thrilled to connect with Mallory Martin- an independent consultant for Scout & Cellar. We were fascinated by the information she shared with us on the importance of clean-crafted wine and knew immediately that we wanted to share the news about Scout & Cellar with you- a one-stop-shop for an amazing selection of clean-crafted wines. Read the Q&A below for more and consider Scout & Cellar next time your adult friends & family gather around the table.

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself!

Hi there! My name is Mallory and, when I’m not sharing about clean-crafted wine, I’m working full-time for a non-profit organization and chasing my two cute (and crazy) kids around — Russell is four and Abby is two. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I’ve now lived in Dallas, Texas close to ten years and, though I still don’t own cowboy boots, I have fully adapted the phrase “y’all” and I’m not ashamed.

How did you get involved with Scout & Cellar?

The company launched in September of 2017 and I found out about it through a dear friend in my community group. As I heard her describe the wine and the difference between mass-produced wine and this newfound clean-crafted wine, I was immediately interested in what it would like to be involved. So, when I heard about this opportunity, it felt like the perfect way to learn more about wine and earn extra income on the side as an independent consultant. 

What do you love so much about Scout & Cellar?

I love that the wine we share is completely clean-crafted — which means it’s naturally grown and consciously bottled. Our founder, Sarah Shadonix, travels the world to find small batch, family vineyards who are making wine as it was intended to be — without all of the extra chemicals, added sugar and synthetic pesticides. We are all learning to care more about what we put in and on our bodies and there has been significant progress in the skincare, food and cleaning products, but — until now — no one was talking about the unneeded, harmful chemicals in our wine.

So, what makes clean-crafted wine different than others?

Winemakers these days are simply responding to the consumer. You and I decide that we love this one particular wine. We love it so much that we want it to taste the same this year, next year and the year after that. Wine is not supposed to taste the same year after year. But, in order to meet our demands of keeping predictable taste AND in order to continue to reduce costs, pesticides, chemicals and sugar are used throughout the process. There are over 250 commonly-added, FDA approved chemicals and additives used today in mass-produced wine. The average mass-produced bottle of wine can contain up to 16 grams of added sugar (more than a glazed donut). Clean-crafted wine has no added chemicals, no added pesticides and no added sugar.

Have you noticed a difference in how you feel drinking toxin-free wine compared to mass-produced wine including the chemicals, pesticides and added sugar?

Yes! The only headaches I experienced prior to Scout & Cellar wines were with champagne/bubbles. Though I loved the idea of a cold mimosa on a Saturday morning, it truly would lead to headaches more often than not. Currently, I can use a Scout & Cellar bubbly with a dash of orange juice and it’s perfect. 

Do you love to entertain? What is your favorite thing to cook + fav wine to serve?

Yes! Yes! Yes! This is one of the reasons I wanted to learn more about wine; my husband and I love to entertain and this component is a huge piece of the entertaining puzzle. Year-round, he’s in charge of the meat and I do all the rest. As we head into summer, his current go-to is grilling incredible dry rub ribs and I’ll pair those with a light tomato/mozzarella Caprese salad and grilled asparagus lightly dusted with olive oil, cracked ground pepper and sea salt. If we’re enjoying the meal outside, I’ll choose our 2016 Hannes Sabathi Sauvignon Blanc from Austria (pairs perfectly with the mozzarella), but if we’re inside, I’d choose a red to pair with the ribs — our 2013 Middle Jane Syrah.

*This post is intended for readers 21 and older only. Also, when enjoying wine, remember to drink in moderation and always responsibly!

SHOP WINE GLASSES WE LOVE:

Coffee Table Styling

768 1024 Melissa Mayer

One of my favorite parts about going to a friend’s home is seeing how they style their coffee table. Similar to someone’s wardrobe, a coffee table represents a person’s style, aesthetic, and gives you a peek into their interests and personal taste. From coffee table books to candles, a well-curated coffee table is truly a work of art in itself. Coffee table styling is a personal experience and there is no right or wrong way to do it, which makes the process that much more fun and enjoyable. Make it yours and let it make an authentic statement in your home! Below are a few of our styling tips, but again, you do you. xo

DESIGN BOOKS

There are so many beautiful design books (like this one + this one) that serve as great coffee table accessories and house guests absolutely love them. When you are gathered around the table, it is fun for people to flip through the books and be inspired.

FRESH BLOOMS

Fresh flowers add so much warmth and love to a home. We love picking up blooms regularly and adding them to our coffee tables. Much like a centerpiece on a dining table, the coffee table serves as a centerpiece to a living space, so adding fresh flowers will definitely make a welcome, homey statement. We are loving these vases to hold the beautiful blooms.

STATEMENT CANDLE (c/o)

Capri Blue is our absolute favorite brand of candles! They smell wonderfully, are long-lasting, and have a clean, stylish look. This one is pictured above, but we also love this one and this one.

CUTE COASTERS

Having coasters on a coffee table is a must! Guests always appreciate when coasters are readily available, but they also make a table look complete & will protect the table from glass rings. We are especially loving these coasters from Anthro– we both have them!

KEEP IT TIDY 

Last but not least, an organized table is a beautiful table! However, depending on your taste and style, the coffee table might be more full than others, or you might like the minimalist approach. Either way and regardless of how many things are on the table, it is nice when everything is kept organized and looks put-together, even in an effortless way.

 

When The Kitchen Becomes Your Happy Place

1024 681 Melissa Mayer

I find it so special to go over to our friend’s houses. I love it because it truly gives me further insight into who they are. How do they cook? How do they decorate? What are their habits? I so enjoy seeing home life! It also opens my mind to become inspired and introduced to new ways of doing things in my own home.

Enter a few months ago when we went to our dear friend’s house in Suncadia, Washington! Jase and I settled in upstairs, and I came downstairs into their lovely kitchen to get some water. Judah handed me a glass jar that looked like a cleaned out milk bottle, and said, this is yours for the weekend! I fell in love with the idea of drinking water out of glass jug; they are easily refillable, dishwash-able, and they don’t contain plastic. It’s a win on every level, and I immediately started incorporating that into our home habits + Jase and I take them in our cars every day to stay hydrated!

Fast forward to two weekends ago. Jase and I went to our dear friend’s house, and they cooked the most sensational dinner with the purest of ingredients. I am talking the fluffiest homemade bread turned into fresh garlic bread, pastured chicken with carrots, dark potatoes, and forty cloves of garlic! Yes. Forty cloves! We were greeted with roasted artichoke cooked in rosemary and lemon wedges, partnered with homemade ricotta cheese dip topped with fresh local figs. I realized they cook this way almost every night together – it’s their happy place, and they love experimenting with recipes that come to mind. They remind me of playing the piano by ear, but in the kitchen. I learned so much by their art and creativity, and left feeling inspired and motivated to get out of my cooking rut. This last week, I made that homemade bread and experimented with the most lovely recipes almost every night with the freshest of ingredients from a local market in Silver Lake. All of the sudden, my love for cooking revived, and now the kitchen is becoming more of my happy place, rather than a stress.

What have you learned from seeing how others do home life? We would love to hear from you in the comments below. xo

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