GLUTEN FREE VANILLA BEAN CAKE WITH BLUEBERRY CREAM FROSTING || BY NICOLE LEE


ASHER CAKE small.jpg

The First time I made a cake it was a disaster. Barely working ovens, lead to a burnt cake, that somehow resulted into a frosting with a side of CAKE.  Instead of CAKE with some frosting. At the time, I didn’t have a domestic bone in my body, so of course I used a pre-made Boxed mix and pre-made frosting because why not? After the cake didn’t come out as expected,  I even avoided making all birthday cakes for a LONG time because I was so embarrassed from my first offensive. I was certain I couldn’t bake. Fast forward 10 years later, and my kids are finally begging for cakes on their birthdays, so I accepted their challenge, faced my fear of cake baking and got to it!

It was Asher’s 8th birthday, he requested a vanilla cake, with blue frosting, and berries on top! So we made cake, with blue frosting and berries on top. And it was heavenly.

Happy Cooking Friends,

x Nicole


ASHER BIRTHDAY 8.jpg

ASHER CAKE 7small.jpg

Gluten free Vanilla bean Cake, with Blueberry Cream frosting

Ingredients:

2 ½ cup bob’s red mill gf flour (1 to 1 blue bag mix)
¾ cups organic sugar
1 cup vegan organic earth balance butter blend
½ cup organic coconut milk
4 large organic eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 organic vanilla beans
2 ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt

Directions:

Note: You’ll want all your ingredients room temp.

  1. Measure out all the ingredients and set them in front of you. You’ll need 1 medium to large bowl for the dry ingredients, and your mixing bowl that attaches to your free standing mixer. Sift all the dry ingredients into the medium bowl, set aside.

  2. Cream your vegan butter and sugar on low speed in your freestanding mixer for about 1-4 min, or until it resembles a slight mayo texture. While that is going, crack your eggs into a small bowl. Then stop your mix press down all the sides of your cream and the bottom of the bowl ensuring everything is mixed well. Start the mixer on low and while it's going add in one egg, at a time. Stop mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

  3. Slice your vanilla bean pods lengthwise,and scrape out the beans with your knife add them to the mixer. Then start the mix again, add in vanilla, coconut milk. Keep the speed low to ensure you don’t over mix.

  4. While the mixture is going, add your dry ingredients in 3 sections. If need be, stop in between and scrape down the sides again. This just gets everything mixed together without the dough lumping.

  5. Once batter is made, divide it into your prepared cake pans. TIP: spray with nonstick spray, and cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-35 min until a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer.
  7. To cool, place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  8. Ice and decorate your cake.

Blueberry Icing:

Ingredients:

8 oz Vegan Almond Cream Cheese (kite hill is the brand I used)
4 oz organic Coconut milk (cream only, you’ll need to refrigerate for 12 hours beforehand)
1 cup confectioners sugar (sifted)
1-2 tablespoons organic blue food coloring
1 tsp organic vanilla extract

Directions: NOTE: All ingredients must be cold before starting. You will need free standing mixer with whisk attachment. Also, you can freeze your metal bowl beforehand, this really helps the process.

To make, pop all your wet ingredients(except food dye) in your free standing mixer with whisk attachment, on medium speed whisk until light and fluffy about 1 min. Add in your sifted sugar and 1tbsp of food coloring,(if want darker add 1 more tbsp). Whisk again until smooth and creamy. If its not coming together, add more sifted sugar one tbsp at a time, with an addition of 1 tbsp coconut milk.

Frost the cooled cake and enjoy!


ASHER BIRTHDAY CAKE 3.jpg

ASHER CAKE 6small.jpg

ASHERS BIRTHDAY CAKE 1 better.jpg



THE EASIEST APPLE PIE RECIPE || CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA || BY NICOLE LEE


These past five weeks I immersed myself into a Baking Class, the idea being I wanted to learn more. But ultimately, face my fear of cooking school. Shamelessly, I have to admit I had this whole Julia Child Movie moment in my head, classrooms that are light and Airy with inspiration everywhere. This was far from the case.

The Culinary program at scottsdale community college, isn’t a “sparkly”setting. More lackluster, the room is small, filled with 6 working stations to host pairs of two, the equipment is scarce, and the kitchenaid mixers are run down. There is even a cockroach scurrying across the floor that has decided to flee the building because it would rather be somewhere else.

Enter my first day, I walk in I’m right on time 5pm sharp. It seems everyone has already arrived and set up, I baffled. I take note and realize on time actually means 15 min early. The teacher or CHEF, starts talking, telling us “we are diving right in First Mise en Place and then please DON’T start baking”. Everyone scurries to the shelves and I’m left standing there, dumbfounded. Already feeling behind, I tell myself to Focus! What is the girl next to me doing? DO the same, I tell myself to do the same. So, I go follow. With containers and digital scales in our hands we come back to the station, I turn to the girl next to me and ask “what the F is Mise en Place” ? “Everything in Place, she says”. Using her hands she waves them at her already weighed ingredients for the cream scones we were making. I hadn’t even started. I turn my scale on, it doesnt work. I go to get another one, they are all gone. Fuck. I take another breath, but somehow manage to calm myself. Savanah my teammate kindly offers hers when she is finished and we actually SCALE the rest of the items together. THANK GOD.

The rest of the class is smooth, but I realize It's been years since working in a bakery setting, or coffee shop and I can’t quite remember how to set up the 3 part sink but try hard to ignite the thought stored deep in my brain. Class consists of 4.5 hours of hands on baking, as well as rolling up your sleeves and doing mundane things like cleaning dishes, floors and equipment. Chef, makes the small unglamours room feel Big, Bright and full of life. Half way through class I’ve forgotten about the coacroah and found myself well on my way to scaling baking and having the time of my life! Once I realize that the fears of this class have subsided, I take a big deep breath and press on.

Below I have included the CIA ( Culinary institute of America’s Pie dough and apple pie we made in class!) Happy Baking friends,

x Nicole


APPLE PIE RECIPE

PIE 2small.jpg

APPLE PIE RECIPE FROM CIA :

3-2 -1 PIE DOUGH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lbs All purpose flour
  • 1 oz Salt
  • 2 lbs Butter, cut into pieces, chilled
  • 1 lb Cold Water

DIRECTIONS:

NOTE: BUTTER MUST BE COLD

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a electric mixer (like a kitchenaid). Add the butter and blend with the paddle attachment on medium speed until pea size nuggets form, about 3 min. For flaky dough, you are looking for ½ to ¾ inch pieces of butter. For mealy dough you are looking for almost a coarse cornmeal consistency. Add the water all at once and continue to mix until the dough just comes together.

  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. ( the dough can be held under refrigeration for three days or frozen.

FILLING :

INGREDIENTS:

Apple Pie Makes one 9inch pie

6 to 8 apples, peeled and cut into 1/4inch slices
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt Egg wash (1 egg to 1 tablespoon milk, beaten)
Coarse sugar, as needed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare crust using the All Butter Double-Crust, bottom crust fitted in pie pan and chilled, top crust rolled out into a 11-inch round.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and set the rack in the lowest position. Using a pastry wheel, cut twelve 1-inch-wide strips of dough from the top crust. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Toss to combine. Immediately layer the apples in the prepared bottom crust, arranging and pressing them to eliminate gaps and air pockets.

  4. For the decorative top crust, watch THIS LINK https://www.kingarthurflour.com/videos/how-to-weave-lattice-pie-crust step-by-step techniques to prepare.

  5. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pie and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking until bubbly, 60 to 70 minutes more. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Let cool for 2 to 3 hours. The filling will continue to thicken and set as the pie cools.


APPLE PIE RECIPE

KITCHEN CONVERSATIONS || ARTIST FAWN DEVINEY || BY PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE



FAWN 17 stock.jpg

Hello Friends,

A few months ago, Fawn Deviney graciously invited me into her home to photograph her. We had the most effortless conversation about life, artistry, and her passion for helping Artists seeing their own potential.

When I arrived she greeted me with a kind smile and big hug. Duce her english bulldog soon followed suit, stealing the show with his effortless charm. He followed her like a young pup following his mother. Aromas of fresh cut grass, candles and coffee filled the air with warmth and coziness. Fawn lead me into the house, making our way to the kitchen where we began our conversation. She offered me a warm cup of coffee with coconut cream, as we drank our coffee we started to chat about her story.

Fawn shared about her photography journey over the past 8 years which has shifted and changed into what it is today. A budding business with hope and dreams, encouraging others to do the same. She went into detail sharing how she stripped layers of old notions, which helped find her truth with a love and passion for being an Artist. When she spoke, her love of others and finding a way to help them see their potential shined through. She expressed “Encouraging Artist’s to Value their work, it’s one of my misson’s right now”. She used to think the only way to be successful was through a traditional degree.(I want to underscore, she in fact has a degree in Social Work ). Breaking free from social norms, it seemed she found her soul pulling her toward Art and Photography. Realizing “SHE IS GOOD enough to be an ARTIST, and IT IS REAL WORK. Starving artist shouldn’t be a thing, when you believe in your WORK and WORTH people will follow suit.” - FD

Fawn is nothing short of an old soul with elegant poise and passion for her work and others. She is one of those Women that leads through grace, gumption, poise, and initelect. Which is something we all should be taking notes to learn from. The thing I was most impressed with Fawn, is her love for other people, and how grateful for every moment in her career BIG and SMALL.

Fawn Deviney, is an Artist, Photographer, Stylist, and now Gallery Owner. She lives and resides in Phoenix, Arizona. Below are photographs of our time together, enjoy!
Cheers,
Nicole

FAWNS WORDS:

*“Part of me is still has a childlike wonder as an Artist”. “It’s my Mission right now to encourage Artists to value their work”. “SHE IS GOOD enough to be an ARTIST, and IT IS REAL WORK. Starving artist shouldn’t be a thing, when you believe in your WORK and WORTH people will follow suit.” - FD


A few of Fawns favorite things:

Mastering the art of French Cooking -Julia Child GEM WATER : Goop.com Lacy Phillips Free and Native Daily rituals of warm Coffee, writing and reading.



FAWN 13small.jpg

FAWN 12stock.jpg

FAWN 16.jpg

FAWN 15small.jpg

FAWN 1stock.jpg

FAWN 7small.jpg

PORTRAIT FAWN.jpg

FAWN 6small.jpg

FAWN 5 small.jpg

FAWN 38small.jpg

FAWN 40small.jpg

FAWN 36small.jpg
FAWN 43small.jpg


FAWN 22small.jpg

FAWN 26small.jpg

FAWN 30small.jpg

FAWN 32small.jpg

FAWN 4small.jpg
FAWN 35small.jpg

FAWN 39small.jpg

FAWN 18small.jpg

FAWN 11.jpg

AN ODE TO THE SUMMER SMOOTHIE || VEGAN SMOOTHIE RECIPE || EASY BERRY SMOOTHIE || NICOLE LEE


HEY YOU GUYS,

Summer is coming to a close. We are soaking up every last bit, and eating all the berries we can get our hands on! Asher came up with the SIMPLEST SMOOTHIE RECIPE so I thought I'd share it here as a final ode to the SUMMER SEASON. 

HAPPY LABOR DAY FRIENDS x 

Nicole 



SMOOTHIE 4 web.jpg

vegan berry recipe
vegan smoothie recipe

ASHER'S SMOOTHIE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup ice
2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries
1-2 cups organic light coconut milk (from can or carton)
1 tsp vanilla extract,
2 bananas

DIRECTIONS:

In your blender place all the ingredients - blend until smooth- if not getting smooth add a bit more milk - blend more and enjoy! TIP: I put the leftover in popsicle maker to make popsicles.


vegan berry smoothie recipe

vegan berry smoothie recipe

SMOOTHIE

vegan berry smoothie recipe

SMOOTHIE 2 stock.jpg


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE VEGAN WAFFLE RECIPE|| GLUTEN + DAIRY FREE RECIPES || BY NICOLE LEE


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE VEGAN WAFFLES RECIPE

HI friends! It’s been a while. My apologies for that, I hope you feel I  haven’t abandon you. We’re at the start of a fresh new season over here in our little “Team Lee” world. Which I’ve been talking a lot about on Instagram. I have also taken the plunge on going FULL TIME on, developing recipes, photographing, blogging, running this little business and diving into Culinary School. Whoosh that sounds like a lot but it's the best kind of BUSY I’ve had in a LONG TIME. The kind where you are tired but have SO MUCH energy. Which I really believe is from following your heart and not your head, being align to your universal path. Anyone with me?

One of the recipes I have been working on is Double Chocolate GF Vegan Waffles. (my sister advises I work on the name) Until, that happens we'll stick with it. When I made these waffles the first time, it was a Sunday morning, I was half asleep still sipping on coffee to wake me up. I nailed the recipe. Which was a miracle. But then when I went to make them later in the week I BOTCHED them because I didn’t trust the recipe I wrote down. So silly really. I'm remembering that going with your GUT is always a good idea! Recipe testing takes time, and I appreciate you waiting ever so patiently while I figured it all out!

NOW, LETS GO COOK!

-Cheers,

Nicole x


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE VEGAN WAFFLES RECIPE

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GLUTEN FREE WAFFLES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS ( plus tips) :

1 cup gluten free flour ( bob’s red mill 1 to 1 mix )
1 ¼ cup white rice flour ( sweet or reg works)
¼ cup organic cocoa powder
1 bob’s red mill vegan egg
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
⅓ cup swerve alternative sugar or organic raw turbinado sugar
⅓ cup of earth balance vegan butter ( or mix half light evoo + coconut oil together )
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ - 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup unsweetened dark chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS :

1.Measure out your dry + wet ingredients.

2.In a small bowl make your vegan egg, mixing 2 tablespoons of vegan egg dry mix with 1 tablespoon water and set aside. (If you are new to making vegan egg look at the package for directions).

3.On low heat melt your oil, add in the the sugar, vanilla and chocolate powder. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk until combine.

4. Mix in the almond milk so the milk slightly warms.

5. With a wooden spoon combine wet + dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If the mix looks dry add 1 tablespoon of almond milk, or if looks wet add a 1 tablespoon of gf rice flour. Then add in the chocolate chips. Mix.

6. Preheat your waffle maker. Cook the waffles according to your makers directions.

TIP: Put the oven on warm and place the waffles that have finished cooking in the oven to stay warm while I cook the rest! Finally, serve with whipped cream and berries! Enjoy.

THIS POST WAS NOT SPONSORED BY BOB’S RED MILL, I SIMPLY LOVE THEIR PRODUCTS!!



DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GF VEGAN WAFFLES RECIPE

DIY GHEE RECIPE || BY NICOLE LEE



So what is GHEE you ask? Essentially, Ghee is clarified butter. During the cooking process the milk proteins separate from the butter leaving you with ghee. This stuff is liquid gold, it’s used for cooking veggies, baking, and of course adding to your bulletproof coffee. Packed with Vitamins, Ghee is really a superfood! It’s also the simplest thing to make at home.


DIY GHEE RECIPE

DIY GHEE RECIPE

NOTE: It’s really important to use high quality grass fed butter, this is key to getting the recipe just right. Also, if you are allergic to dairy stay away from GHEE. There are trace amounts of milk solids in it and may cause a reaction. If you are reintroducing dairy into your diet, this is a great food to start with. My only advice would be to go slow and small tiny amounts, over weeks or even months. But we can get into that another time!

Ingredients:

1 pound grass-fed butter (at room temp)

Tools:

Wide mouthed sauce pot
Metal strainer
Cheese Cloth
Metal spoon
Wooden Spoon
Jars with lids for storing

Directions:

Heat your pot on low heat. Add the butter. Let the milk solids bubble to the surface. Skim the bubbles until there is just a layer of protein at the bottom of the pot. It will brown slightly, watch it carefully so you do not burn it. When the solids are fully separated turn off the heat. Put the cheesecloth over the metal strainer, then strain your melted butter through the strainer into your jars. If it looks cloudy strain again. Then put the lid on and store in the fridge. It will become solid and creamy. If you don’t wish to have it creamy keep it on the counter and in about 24 hours it should turn from oil into a thicker consistency.

Happy Cooking friends x Nicole


DIY GHEE RECIPE

This recipe was adapted from the BULLETPROOF DIET COOKBOOK


GRAPEFRUIT TEQUILA COCKTAIL WITH MINT || EASY COCKTAIL RECIPE || BY NICOLE LEE


Hi Friends,

Can you believe we are almost to the 4th of July? It’s one of our favorite holidays, usually we spend the day in the pool or by the beach, have lots of yummy food, drinks and of course enjoy fireworks! What are your plans friends?

For drinks we usually have some fancy lemonade for the kids and “skinny” cocktails for adults. I’ve come up with this Blanco Tequila recipe that you can easily add to, or swap out things like the Cointreau and it still tastes great! Enjoy...


skinny grapefruit margaritas recipe

RECIPE: GRAPEFRUIT BLANCO “SKINNY” MARGARITAS | MAKES 1-2 Servings

INGREDIENTS: 2 oz High quality blanco tequila.
(I love @casamigos #NOTSPONSORED JUST A FAV)
3 -oz fresh squeezed GRAPEFRUIT juice,
ROCKS ICE ( as many fit in your shaker) or LOTS OF CUBED
Fresh mint leaves
Cocktail Shaker
2 oz San Palegrino
1/2 oz Cointreau liqueur

NOTE: Because of the vanilla notes in this tequila, it’s smooth and unlike other tequila's there isn’t that tequila STING in this drink.

DIRECTIONS: In your shaker place MINT, then MUDDLE the mint with tamper, add your ROCKS ICE, tequila, grapefruit juice, + cointreau. Place lid on. SHAKE FOR 1-2 min until it’s soooooooooo cold!!. Poor into GLASS over rocks ice and enjoy!!


easy tequila cocktail recipe

fourth of July diy cocktails

SAY HELLO! Fill out the form below, we'd love to hear from you!

-Nicole


Name *
Name

BAKED SUMMER SALMON RECIPE || WITH BLOOD ORANGE, FENNEL AND GARLIC BULBS


BAKED SALMON RECIPE 2small.jpg

Spring and Summer are my favorite times to eat fish. But I really could eat seafood everyday all year round. Lately, I've been into fresh, easy and fast. This wild alaskan salmon dish checks all the boxes and it’s so easy you can cook it with your eyes closed. Well maybe you might want them open? Either way let’s get cooking!


easy baked fish recipe

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients: **

4-6 WILD ALASKAN SALMON Fillets (please no farmed fish)
1 bulb of fresh fennel
2 blood oranges
2 full garlic bulbs
Pink Salt + Fresh Ground Pepper
MCT OIL

COOKING TOOLS: oven, Non-toxic metal sheet pan, paper towels and prep plate, chef knife and cutting board.

Directions:

1.PREHEAT the Oven to 325 degrees.
2.Grab your prep plate, take 2 sheets of paper towels and place on the plate. Gently, clean your salmon fillets, pat dry and place on top of the paper towels.
3.While they hang out slice your blood oranges, and cut the end of your bulb of fennel off. Set Aside. (TIP:The bulb can be cut up and eaten or saved for later.) Once dried place your salmon fillets on top of the sheet pan, drizzle with MCT OIL. Sprinkle Pink salt + Fresh ground pepper on top. Place one slice of Blood orange on each fillet. Then gently pick apart the fennel and place on top of the orange. Take the remainder of the Fennel and place next to the Salmon. Last, take your bulb of garlic and place on the pan. (You can break it apart a little too. )

4.Bake for 15-20 min. It's done when SALMONS flakes to touch of fork in the thickest part of the fillet.

TIPS: If you can’t afford wild alaskan salmon, you can replace it with mahi mahi, wild cod or anything for that matter. To Serve the salmon with a summer salad, white rice, or even boiled potatoes topped with butter. Our favorite way to have it is paired with seaweed and white rice! Enjoy!

-Cheers Nicole x


BAKED SALMON RECIPE 1 small.jpg

Name *
Name


VANILLA DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM RECIPE || TOPPED WITH FIGS AND RAW HONEY || NICOLE LEE FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER


VANILLA FIG ICE CREAM small 2.jpg


Confession,I have a deep love affair with making Ice Cream. Anybody with me?? There is something romantic in the cooking process, therapeutic even. Melting the sugar and vanilla into the coconut milk, watching it do a beautiful dance together, going from two forms into one. When I’m cooking I find myself grounded, in the most natural way. This thing takes over, becoming present in the moment, I’d like to call it Being.

There are times I’d find myself rushing the cooking process. Whatever dish I’d be attempting to cook, didn’t turn out good at ALL. The flavors were off, something was BURNED! What I noticed is BEING is the KEY to becoming a great COOK. If you’re busy doing other things, or your mind is wrapped in endless thoughts during the cooking process, Or you RUSH through it. You bet it will translate into the food. You can taste your anger, and wandering mind, and definitely the burn toast.  I started noticing there was more to cooking than only doing the motions, you have to FEEL it.

Think of cooking like an intimate dance, or making love. Take it slow, feel each ingredient, smell it, and move with the process, MOVE WITH THE FOOD. Turn off all distractions. Focus on cooking ONE thing and nothing else.You don’t want to rush the process, EMBRACE it. Embrace the mess ups to, because we don’t always get it right the first time. When that comes up brush it off, and KEEP GOING.  

Let’s go make some creamy Vanilla Ice cream!

-Nicole xox


DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM RECIPE, Topped with honey and fresh figs.

INGREDIENTS:**

4 cans full Fat organic coconut milk
2 whole pasture eggs PLUS **5 egg yolks **
4 tablespoons MCT Oil 1/2 cup raw sugar or SWERVE ( alternative sugar)
1-tablespoon vanilla paste or Vanilla extract works great
1-2 whole Vanilla Beans

TOOLS: 1 pot (dutch oven), whisk and an ice cream maker)

NOTE: PREP your cans of coconut in the refrigerator upside down overnight! Before you make the next day!

DIRECTIONS:

1.SEE ABOVE NOTE

2.Slice your vanilla beans in half, and with your knife blade scrape out the paste, put in small dish. Set aside. Next, open the cans of coconut milk and separate the fat and liquid. (You can save the liquid for another project, such as coconut water.) Put your pot on the stovetop and set on low heat. Add in the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla paste and beans to the pot. Whisk together until you see chunks of coconut dissolve. Cool liquid to room temperature, and set aside.

TIP: It’s key you keep your liquid warm and DO NOT boil. ( If it boils, take off heat and pop in the freezer for 20 min)

3.In another bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and yolks until light and fluffy. Add into the coconut mixture. Gently whisk again. Then place the bowl in the freezer for about an hour.

4.Once the mixture is cooled put it into the ice cream maker and follow your machines directions. About mid way through of churning add in your chocolate chips, or fresh chopped chocolate pieces berries or whatever you desire. If you keep this vanilla, serve with figs, and raw honey on top. Store in ice cream containers, or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. The ice cream should make about 2 quarts.


Name *
Name

MESSY BEAUTIFUL || FINDING THE BEAUTY IN LIFE || GUACAMOLE RECIPE || NICOLE LEE



The last few months have been rocky, up down, and all the IN-BETWEEN. Personal bumps, health bumps, career bumps. I found myself wondering where do I want to take this little blog, my career, what do I really want to be spending my time creating? ULTIMATELY, asking myself what do YOU really want?

I came to the “aha” moment that I was Struggling with perfectionism in my life, and in my business. Actually made it easier to mood forward. I know I have talked about this before, about how FACING your ANXIETY, FEAR or thing you are trying to PUSH DOWN will ACTUALLY give you the Answers, and ultimately calm it down. PERFECTIONISM will drive YOU MAD. IT makes you freeze, fear takes over and you serve no one, not even yourself when you are in that place.  

Somewhere inside I got the courage to ask the universe for some answers. Show me something, anything!!! (Universe, show me some FUCKING SIGNS.) The answer that came SMACKING me in the face was DO MORE of WHAT you are ALREADY doing. STOP caring about it being PERFECT; just EMBRACE the MESSY BEAUTIFUL IN-BETWEEN. Now, this didn’t happen immediately, but within a few weeks more doors kept opening. The beautiful part is it was already THERE. My gut was nudging me in a direction, and I had to JUMP IN and Not LOOK BACK.

For the first time I feel aligned with myself, and what I am putting out there into the world. More of the MESSY BEAUTIFUL; life, food, recipes, love and finding the silver lining, while sharing it with you. Being honest, no bullshit approach. My hope is that I inspire you to do the same. To BE YOU, to eat good food, to find the MESSY BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS and EMBRACE them, LAUGH when you FUCK UP, and keep moving forward. Will you JOIN ME?

NOW, let us go make some guacamole and if you’re real smart you’ll make some Margaritas to go with.

Cheers,

Nicole



Guacamole recipe:

Makes enough for 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS: 4 avocados 1 clove garlic 2 bunches of cilantro 1 jalapeno 3-4 limes MCT OIL SPICES: Paprika Oregano Salt Pepper

TOOLS: Large bowl or large mortar and pestle Small bowl Chef’s Knife Spoon Fork Lime juicer Cutting board

DIRECTIONS:

STEP 1: prep all the ingredients. Starting with the cilantro, pull the leaves off the bunch and gently chop it. You’ll want to do one whole bunch. This should come out to about ½ cup to 1 cup. Put in a small bowl Set aside. TIP: place a damp paper towel over the fresh chopped cilantro. Roughly chop your clove of garlic. Set aside. Half and de-seed the jalapeno. You choose how spicy you’d like it to be by the amount of seeds you’ll be adding. I like it spicy so I’ll add about 1 half of the jalapeno, de seed the other but keep the pepper and chop it all up to add to the guacamole.

STEP 2: With your chef knife half your avocados and de-pit them, scoop them out with a spoon and place in the large bowl or mortar and pestle.

STEP 3: Add in all the cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic to the bowl of avocados. Then add; 1 spoon of paprika, 1 tsp. of oregano, 1 tablespoon of MCT oil, salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze 1 whole lime over the bowl. (Don’t mix yet)

STEP 4: Squeeze one lime over the avocado mix. Now start to mix with fork, or your mortar and pestle. Either works. Gently do this until you’ve got the avocados crushed, and it’s all mixed together. Next,TASTE! If it’s too fatty add one more half of lime, if its bland add salt. This is where you get to make the MAGIC.

STEP 5: ENJOY. Serve with chips, crackers, margaritas. You name it.


GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE || FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE 1small.jpg

Who doesn’t love CHOCOLATE? I’ve got the perfect cookie for you, with a low glycemic index you won’t feel a crash. And still get to ENJOY your CHOCOLATE! Recipe below!

Tell me what YOU THINK, Or tag me in your BAKING ADVENTURES!

CHEERS + LOVE,

Nicole



GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, or mix of avocado + Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup swerve alternate sugar
  • 2 pasture eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups @bobsredmill GF all purpose baking flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 bag 85 % chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS: In large bowl pour all liquid ingredients, mix. Then add one egg at time. Mix again, Set aside.

In a separate bowl measure out dry ingredients, then add to wet ingredients. Add in chocolate chips. Mix together, if dough seems wet, add 1 tablespoon of flour mix and repeat.

Store in fridge for 1 hour to up to 24 hours. Then Bake. At 350 degrees for 15 min, let cool and enjoy!


CHOCOALTE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE 5small.jpg

GF CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE 6small.jpg

GF CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE 4small.jpg



SAY HELLO! (fill out form below!)


Name *
Name

"POP UP" WORKSHOP with WEST ELM PHX || FOOD + LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


Hello Friends, 

Come hang next week! Details below,

-Cheers, xx Nicole

PS FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW IF YOU'D LIKE TO ATTEND! 


We’ll bring the drinks! 

Come join us for an evening of messy fun. We've partnered with West Elm PHX  to host a “POP UP” Workshop. We'll be preparing a simple dish, style food scenes, photograph and edit beautiful shots with our IPHONES. 


 March 8th, 2018
  4pm-6:30pm

         West Elm PHOENIX        
Cost: $25

We'll be learning;
IPHONE Photography   
                               Styling Tips + Tricks
                                
                                                                                                                                                                                            
 BONUSES;
PDF Guide of recipes, IPHONE photography + editing,
Styling + Prop TIPS! 
Swag bag + Potted Succulent   
                                    
Bubbly drinks + food to nibble on during the event!                                                               

Number of spaces are limited so Grab your seat! 


GUACAMOLE 2small*.jpg


Name *
Name

EASY DIY VALENTINES BOX | RECIPE || PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE ||


Hello friends,

Homework is torture, yes. Why they do it, and why we want them to stop is for another post. Embracing it is half the battle. (having a good attitude yourself doesn’t hurt either). Doing homework with your kids can be fun. Let it be fun. When we got this weeks drill it included making valentines boxes for valentines day. Which means we have two choices, one: bitch and moan or two: EMBRACE IT. We looked at it as an opportunity to hang with the kids and get some extra art in. We blasted some music, stuffed our faces with guacamole, made the Valentines Boxes and had a HELL of a TIME!

Cheers

-Nicole



EASY DIY VALENTINES BOX

EASY DIY VALENTINES BOXES:

SUPPLIES:

OLD SHOE BOXES
MOD PODGE MATT FINISH
PAINT BRUSH
COLORFUL TISSUE PAPER
GLITTER
PAINTS
PENS
TAPE

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO CONSIDER, FOR HAVING A GOOD TIME:

YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC KIDS (OR NO KIDS)
YOUR FAVORITE SNACKS, HIGHLY RECCOMMENTED : POPCORN + QUACAMOLE

DIRECTIONS:

TAKE ONE PIECE OF YOUR COLORFUL TISSUE PAPER FACE THAT DOWN ON THE TABLE ( THE COLOR SIDE DOWN) PLACE YOUR BOX IN THE MIDDLE.WITH YOUR PAINT BRUSH, DIP IT INTO THE MOD PODGE SPREAD AN EVEN COAT OVER YOUR CARDBOARD BOX BOTTOM, PLACE THAT ONTO THE TISSUE PAPER, (SEE UBOVE FOR EXAMPLE IN PHOTO) THEN GIVE THE BOTTOM A GOOD PAT WITH YOUR HAND TO SMOOTH THE BUMBS OUT. THEN DO THE SAME TO ALL THE SIDES. IT DOESNT HAVE TO BE PERFECT JUST GET THEM TO STICK, AND THEN ONCE THATS DONE, PUT ANOTHER COAT OF MOD PODGE OVER THE WHOLE BOX AND GET IT NICE AND COATED! IF YOU LIKE SPARKELS ADD THE GLITTER! LET DRY FOR 1 HOUR - TWO HOURS. YOU CAN MAKE YOUR SLIT FOR THE LETTERS ONCE DRY.

NOTE: THIS IS SOMETHING THE KIDS CAN DO, SO GET A BOX FOR YOURSELF AND SHOW THEM HOW ITS DONE, OR DO IT AT THE SAME TIME AND GUIDE THEM, ONCE THEY HAVE THE HANG OF IT THEY CAN EASILY TO IT THEMSELFS. THE KEY HERE IS NOT PERFECTION, ITS FUN! LET THEM GET INTO IT.

ONCE DRY YOU CAN FILL IT WITH YOUR VALENTINES CARDS!


EASY DIY VALENTINE BOX 10.jpg

EASY DIY VALENTINES BOX

EASY DIY VALENTINES BOX 12.jpg

EASY DIY VALENTINES BOXES

EASY DIY VALENTINES BOX


EASY DIY VALENTINES BOX

EASY DIY VALENTINES BOX

EASY DIY VALENTINE BOX

WHERE TO PURCHASE SUPPLIES:

TARGET

IKEA

SNACKS : TRADER JOES

WHOLE FOODS


FEAR, IT'S A FUNNY THING || PERSONAL GROWTH STORIES || FACING ANXIETY|| PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE

“As you come to recognize the power of consciousness, that what is behind your eyes, so to speak, holds more power than what appears in front of them, your inner and outer perceptions change.” – Gary Zukav

This past year has had its fair share of ups and downs and in between, my health took to an all time low, and for some reason I decided to start caring what other people thought. I became frozen. Frozen in what to say, how to be myself, what to articulate, and WHAT am I bringing to my business? You get the idea. Obsessing about where the line is on sharing was the main focus. To share or not sharing on social media? Sharing too much of your personal life, may leave you feeling vulnerable and exposed. Or not sharing enough may lead to feeling like a phony only sharing the “highlight reel”. I found myself looking at what all these “influencers” were/ are doing and thinking well f*** I am never going to “catch up”. Do I even have anything to offer? Am I good enough? Do people care anyway?

 Processed with VSCO with j1 preset

Not great self talk eh? I had it all wrong.

When I came to the realization that I cared WAY too much and put so much energy into caring what other people thought, I felt mentally exhausted and anxious. I turned to my therapist for help, I told her what was going on, expressing I felt I may have some unresolved social anxiety that I need to face. It comes up at social events, and if I’m really being honest, I feel that way most times before posting on social media channels.

Her response “ she once felt the same way (minus the social media part) and someone informed her that getting caught up in what others think is self absorbed. “SHUT UP!” I thought. The last thing I want is to feed narcissism and be self-absorbed! I gave myself a good hard look into the mirror and said can we move on? Is putting energy into what other people think really worth your time? Is it honestly helping you move forward in life? HELL NO.

Moving forward was simple to do. Truth, it's going to come up again, when it does we have a choice. Fear goes away when you go look at it. The fear gets bigger when you push it aside. It was facing the fear that got me to the other side.

Looking back I can laugh at myself. I wasted so much time on things that only held me back from my own truth. Lesson learned. In fact most people may not have this as an issue. Maybe their fears lie somewhere else, starting that project, launching that business, getting out of the chair to have a good time, trying something new outside of your comfort zone. Whatever it is for you, once you become aware, awake, conscious you have a choice. Using the new tool to look at your fears, face them, figure out what’s up, or run and hide from them, push them down, or drop out. The only one in the way of you is yourself. So the choice is yours.

Cheers, X Nicole


HELPFUL LINKS + TIPS :

JUDGMENT DETOX

 SUPER SOUL SUNDAY, OPRAH

You cannot become compassionate with yourself without becoming compassionate with others, or with others, your world becomes compassionate. You draw to yourself other souls of like frequency, and with them you create, through your intentions and your actions and your interactions, a compassionate world.  –Gary Zukav


QUICK EASY HOLIDAY PARTY SNACKS || GLUTEN FREE + VEGAN RECIPES || FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


CHEX MUDDY BUDDIE RECIPE

Hello Friends, 

We are in the home stretch of the holiday Season. I don’t know about you folks, but it seems this year has been extra busy. Between all the kids Parties, Family parties, and Christmas, and upcoming New Year's, I may take the rest of January to hibernate. Anyone with me?

Before we decide on that, I’ve got the easiest recipe for you to make. These “muddy buddies” and I go way back. When I started making these I couldn’t even boil and egg, or so much as make a batch of cookies without burning the entire batch. What I'm saying is anyone can make them! This recipe is for the “ultimate home cook” or the people who may not have a clue what they are doing in the kitchen. Recipe is below, Happy Cooking!

-Nicole



GLUTEN FREE + VEGAN CHEX MUDDY BUDDIES RECIPE:

What you will need : 1 family size box Rice Chex Cereal

1 bag of 85% organic dark chocolate chips

¼ cup MCT OIL

1 teaspoon Organic Vanilla extract

½ cup Organic Peanut Butter ( or if allergic omit entirely, add ¼ cup more MCT oil, or ALTERNATIVE NUT BUTTER)

½ cups of Swerve Confectioners Sugar

1 cup Organic Powdered Sugar

1 LARGE saucepan (large enough to mix in 10 cups Chex Cereal)

2 large ziploc gallon bags Or 2 Large Paper grocery bags (for mixing and shaking)

TIP: IF you are looking for the low glycemic version, swap out ALL POWDERED sugar for SWERVE CONFECTIONERS Sugar, it’s one to one ratio. I like to do about half and half.

Directions:

Measure out 10 cups of the rice Chex cereal set aside. In your bag place half of the powdered sugar set aside. Measure out your nut butter, oil, and vanilla. Set aside.

Heat your dutch oven to medium low, pour in your MCT OIL, NUT BUTTER, vanilla and chocolate chips stir with wooden spoon or spatula until all the chips melt, do not stop stirring, it can burn quick. Once Melted TAKE OFF HEAT! Still at the stove pour in your cereal to the melted chocolate , mix until all are coated with chocolate mixture. Then add the mix to your bag filled with the powdered sugar, once in add some more powdered sugar on top of mix, seal and shake shake shake until all coated. If the mixture seems wet, add in 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar, shake again and repeat until it's coated with the powdered sugar. Since we are using all real ingredients, the color may come dark instead of all white, don’t be alarmed. When finished shaking, transfer to parchment or wax paper to cool. Then enjoy!


MUDDY BUDDIES 3small*.jpg

THIS RECIPE WAS ADAPTED FROM CHEX MUDDY BUDDIES

EASY LEFT OVER CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE || FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


CHICKEN SOUP


Hello Friends,

Sometimes the best recipes stem from only what is stocked in the fridge at the moment. You know, when it gets bare and you can’t bring yourself to do another weekly shop. As my kids are growing it seems I am constantly running out of food! So we barely have leftovers, but I do have staple ingredients lying around. Garlic, ginger root, onions, carrots, celery, fresh herbs, always cilantro and basil. In the pantry, canned beans, tomatoes, chicken bone broth and veggie broth stock the shelves. That way when I am in a pinch, I can easily throw something in a pot and walk away, while I  to tend to the chaos of after school activities. Inspired by the classic the many leftovers in the fridge after hosting our first “classic” thanksgiving meal a beautiful hearty soup was born.


Leftover Chicken Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cooked Cornish Hens (or 1 fully roasted chicken)

2 sweet onions

4 celery stalks

2 carrots (I used my roasted carrots from the night before!)

2 cloves garlic

Fresh Ginger (about half the size of your pinky finger)

2 - 16 oz chicken bone broth (free range organic is my preference, I like Pacific Brand or you can make your own stock) White wine (you actually like to drink, I love Sauvignon blanc)

2 cans of cannellini beans (eden brand is great, they pressure cook and Soak them, so they are great on your digestive system)

2 -3 cups of fully cooked mixed potatoes, Japanese sweet, white, red… you get it! (roasted from night before, or boiled then add them to the pot, don’t add raw potatoes to your soup, it will soak up all your broth)

Herbs:

1 bay leaf

fennel leaves

fresh oregano, thyme leaves, sage, rosemary

Salt

Fresh ground pepper

Other things you may need:

Olive Oil, or avocado oil for frying your veg

1 large stock pot, with wide bottom (Dutch oven work great too)

1 wooden spoon

Chef’s knife

Cutting board

Directions:

First chop all your onions, carrots, celery, place in one bowl set aside. Take two garlic cloves with the peel on, place one on your board and with your knife smash down, take off the peel and set aside the garlic. Repeat.

Place your stock pot on the stove, turn on the stove to medium-high heat add in your Avocado oil, when its good and hot add in your onion carrots and celery mixture to the stock pot. Then add in salt and pepper to taste, (small amounts at a time here if you aren’t experienced). Add in your whole garlic. Then Add in ½ cup of wine while the pot is good and hot, then bring the stove down to medium heat. Cook until the onions are clear, then add in both smashed garlic cloves. While that is making magic, roughly chop your herbs and add those to the pot. If things are good and cooked, turn the heat to low.

TIP: Be sure to stir your saute every few min so it will not burn, I like to feel things out when cooking, smell also helps so be sure to use your senses as a guide in the process!

Pull apart the chicken meat and bones, add them to the pot, and set aside the carcass for other use or discard altogether.

Open your cannellini beans, thoroughly rinse and drain beans and put them in the pot. Add in the fully cooked potatoes from last night's roast, ( or pre boiled potatoes). Cut about 1 inch long of fresh ginger root, toss this into the pot whole. Add in your Bay leaf as well.

Give everything a good stir, turn your heat up to high, now it’s time to to add in the bone broth to the stock pot. Let it boil for 5 min on high, when you see it bubbling, give it a good stir and bring your heat down to low and let simmer for min of 45 min - 12 hours depending on when you will be eating. The longer it sits the more time the flavors have to melt into each other. After the 45 min on low heat, you can taste if it needs more herbs, salt or pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and salad to make a glorious dinner!

Cheers

-Nicole

VEGAN BULLETPROOF COFFEE || RECIPE | FOOD+ LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


Hey friends,

My apologies on my abandonment towards you folks ( and my blog). I’ve been really focusing on getting my house back in order and doing lots and lots of projects over the weekends instead of recipe testing…(But that is changing soon).

Did I mention I’ve been drinking lots and lots of coffee to keep me going? A few years ago I discovered bulletproof coffee. I friend had shown it to me, but I am allergic to dairy… so I had to modify. I discovered if you put the same amount of MCT oil in, and use a dairy free nut milk it will get frothy just as if you use grass-fed butter. I also noticed no two dairy free milks are created equal. I am pretty picky when it comes down to the brands I use. Anyone agree??


 Vegan Bullet Proof Coffee Recipe

Vegan Bullet Proof Coffee Recipe



Vegan Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

* Ingredients:

  • 8oz fresh coffee
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons MCT Oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegan nut milk ( almond, coconut are awesome!)
  • 1 oz 85-90% dark chocolate
  • 1 -2 tsp MACA powder
  • Cinnamon for top
  • Blender Notes: if you this is your first time with bulletproof coffee start with 1 tablespoon of MCT and work up to 2 tablespoons . Also High quality coffee beans, ground + brewed in french press or pour over method ( this will get it tasting top notch)

Directions: Brew coffee to directions. I prefer french press method. In your blender place all the ingredients. Measure out 8 oz of fresh hot coffee, blend on high for 30 seconds until frothy. Top with cinnamon And enjoy!!!

Some of my favorite brands:


CHEERS, 

-Nicole 

ASHER'S PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWHICH || RECIPE || GLUTEN + DAIRY FREE || PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE



Hello Friends, 

It’s good to remember you don’t need fancy food, or expensive kitchen tools to execute a good meal. A Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich will do  just fine indeed. We all have busy lives. What I love most about sandwiches, they are quick, easy, and i’d say nutritious. The thing is, it’s not just about the meal at the dinner table, but the memories we make around the table. Or it’s not about the “perfect” presentation, but letting the kids get in there and make something too, and heck it can be messy. Who cares?

Onward, go make a sandwich and hug someone close to you!

PB + JELLY SANWICH RECIPE :

INGREDIENTS:

  • Loaf of bread

  • Your favorite jam / honey or fruit spread

  • Peanut butter (or other nut butter )

  • A knife 

  •  

  • DIRECTIONS:   Grab 2 pieces of bread. With your knife place an even layer jam on one half of bread. On the other spread an even coating of peanut butter. Then place one slice on top of the other. Bam you are finished. If you are daring make it open faced. To do that spread an even layer of nut butter on bread, then jam on top!


peanut butter toast recipe

peanut butter jelly sandwich recipe

PEANUT BUTTER JELLY SANDWICH 

BY : SHEL SILVERSTEIN 

I’ll sing you a story of a silly young king
Who played with the world at the end of a string,
But he only loved one single thing --
And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.

His scepter and his royal gowns,
His regal throne and golden crowns
Were brown and sticky from the mounds
And drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.

His subjects all were silly fools
For he had passed a royal rule
That all that they could learn in school
Was how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.

He would not eat his sovereign steak,
He scorned his soup and kingly cake,
And told his courtly cook to bake
An extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich.

And then one day he took a bite
And started chewing with delight,
But found his mouth was stuck quite tight
From that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich.

His brother pulled, his sister pried,
The wizard pushed, his mother cried,
“My boy’s committed suicide
From eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!”

The dentist came, and the royal doc.
The royal plumber banged and knocked,
But still those jaws stayed tightly locked.
Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich!

The carpenter, he tried with pliers,
The telephone man tried with wires,
The firemen, they tried with fire,
But couldn’t melt that peanut-butter sandwich.

With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil,
With steam and lubricating oil --
For twenty years of tears and toil --
They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich.

Then all his royal subjects came.
They hooked his jaws with grapplin’ chains
And pulled both ways with might and main
Against that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich.

Each man and woman, girl and boy
Put down their ploughs and pots and toys
And pulled until kerack! Oh, joy --
They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich.

A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak --
The king’s jaw opened with a creak.
And then in voice so faint and weak --
The first words that they heard him speak
Were, “How about a peanut-butter sandwich?”




lifestyle portrait

    CHRISTMAS BRUNCH IN JULY || BRUNCH TIPS || FOOD+LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE



    Hello Friends,

    Can you believe it’s Wednesday already? In my last post I spoke about how we get to move back into our home this Friday. It’s been a wild journey with the storms of the house. Officially we have been out two months, and two-ish weeks. That would make us staying at 4 different airbnb. The last place we stayed at felt like we were living in a Wes Anderson Movie. Deserted hotel, we were the only ones on the grounds at times. Anyway, we are getting really excited to finally be moving back in. The status of the house, we have walls, and currently are doing some extra remodeling ourselves. Painting, bathrooms the kids rooms and a few odds and ends. The goal is to make it feel like home again. But after all that has happened it’s time to put on some fresh coats of paint and make new memories.

    Best way to do that, make a big meal gather around the table and have some laughs. Our go to favorite meal  brunch. Sunday mornings, bacon, eggs, maybe some double chocolate muffins. Or just whatever we may have in the fridge at the moment works too. Here is how we usually brunch on Christmas morning…. 

    “Team Lee” Brunch (Christmas Morning Style) : 

    Put everything in the middle of the table and enjoy!

    Cheers Friends,

    Nicole



    Sunday brunch tips


    SAY HELLO! :

    Name *
    Name


    FOLLOW ALONG ON INSTAGRAM :