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 :

GRAIN FREE "BEAUTY WAFFLE" RECIPE || FOOD+LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE || GLUTEN FREE RECIPE


gluten free waffle recipe

Hi friends,  

How we doing out there? It’s been pretty go! go! go! this summer. We are so close to moving back into our home. Officially we move back in this Friday July 14th. We are feeling slightly bittersweet about it all. The “storms” have calmed down, and the “series of unfortunate events” have been put to rest. Mold gone, plumbing fixed throughout the house, tree that was causing leaky roof, gone ( my apologies mother nature) roof fixed…let me think.. Walls fixed.. Now the house is safe. Amen. Ha. Ryan and I have been cleaning like mad, painting, so the house will be move in ready. There are a few odds + ends I’ll still be sharing on Insta stories ( so stay tuned!) Nothing but clear skies ahead for us with our home. Excited to get back into the kitchen ( well my own kitchen and test some new recipes!)

To celebrate our move in, I've been cooking up some waffles. I have been recipe testing like mad these past few weeks with this grain free chocolate beauty waffle concoction. It sure has been giving me a run for my money! “Beauty waffle”? These waffles are filled with all sorts of good stuff, we’ve got, raw cocoa(rich in magnesium), dark chocolate, xylitol sweetener ( no sugar spike + crash), egg yolks (amazing for skin!), Maca ( libido boosting), and flaxseed meal (aids digestion). All mixed together you have heaven, oh and don’t forget the whipped topping! If you are into things tasting good, and knowing the ingredients going into the food you make are full of added bonus give these waffles a try.

-Happy cooking!

Nicole 


waffle ingredients

gf chocolate waffle recipe

Recipe :
Grain Free Chocolate Chip beauty waffles

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:
3 pasture raised egg yolks plus+ 1 full egg
2 tablespoons filtered water as needed or almond milk
1 tspn vanilla extract or unsweetened vanilla powder

Dry Ingredients:
½ cup cassava flour
¼ cup unbleached almond meal
1 tablespoon High quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon MCT oil ( I love bulletproof brand)
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
½ tspn baking soda
1 tspn baking powder (aluminum free)
1 tablespoon organic raw cocoa (if desired)
2 tablespoons organic ground flaxseed meal ( trader joe’s brand is awesome)
1 tablespoon raw Maca powder ( moon juice brand is my favorite)
1 bag of stevia sweetened chocolate chips or 1 dark chocolate bar (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon of swerve ( sugar alternative)
1 tablespoon of xylitol

Tools needed: large mixing bowl, measuring cups, wooden spoon, small or large waffle iron, plate or cooling rack.

Directions:
TIP: It’s always helpful to measure your ingredients ahead ( I don’t always do this, but it helps to at least have them all out)

In a small bowl Separate the egg yolks from eggs. Add in the one whole egg. Set aside. Grab your large mixing bowl and add in all the wet ingredients. Lightly whisk the mixture for about 30 seconds. Add in your dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips), starting with the sugars, then add in all the rest doesn’t matter the order. Mix it all up with your wooden spoon. If it looks dry, add in 1 tspn at a time of almond milk ( or water). Add in your chips. ( to your desire, I like a lot!)
Plug in your waffle iron, use the directions on your machine( believe me they are all different)
Start making waffles! Poor a bit of waffle mix into the maker, when the little light goes off you know they are done, but sometimes they may need an extra min. This is where your own judgment comes in. You can also poke them in the middle, and if they bounce back they are done. Note: you can make a few “tester” one and set a timer. This is always helpful.
Place on plate or cooling rack with a piece of paper towel or parchment paper over the top to keep warm.
Chop fresh berries for topping
Enjoy! Add your favorite whipped cream, maple syrup, or nut butter with bacon.

“Whipped topping”:
(Makes 11 oz )

Ingredients :
3 pasture raised egg yolks
2 cans full fat organic coconut cream (refrigerated overnight)
2 tablespoons xylitol
1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract or unsweetened vanilla powder
1 organic whole vanilla bean
1 -tablespoons of moon juice loose probiotics ( another form of loose probiotics should work)
Vitamix high powered blender

Directions:
1.Place the blender top in the freezer for about 15-20 min. Or until cold enough there is a layer of fog around the blender top.
2.In a bowl open and separate coconut milk fat from the water. (This should be natural as you have put it in the refrigerator). Disregard the water and use for another project!
3. Slice open your vanilla bean, in half with a sharp knife, scrape out the beans and place with your coconut fat.
4. When your blender top is good and cold, take all the ingredients and place in the blender. On the cold setting blend your heart out ( about 15-35 seconds). Check the consistency and if it’s thick ( not too thick) transfer to airtight container and back in the fridge while you make your waffles. (You can also use this cream to have for a late night treat with berries or other goodies. )




Gluten free chocolate waffle recipe

grain free waffle recipe

SAY HELLO! 

Name *
Name



Source: www.heydear.co/blog

CLOTH AND FLAME DESERT DINNER || SONORAN DESERT, ARIZONA || FOOD+LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE

















 food and lifestyle photographer, arizona, seattle, pacific northwest





Sonoran desert







 food and lifestyle photographer, arizona, seattle, pacific northwest







 food and lifestyle photographer, arizona, seattle, pacific northwest















CHECK OUT MORE ON INSTAGRAM :

Strawberry-Basil and Coconut Popsicle Recipe// Arizona food Photographer Nicole Lee



Hi! Lets start there. I wanted to take a moment and reintroduce myself. I’m Nicole. I am a photographer, home cook, Mother, jack  Jill of all trades kind of girl. Last year, I started pursuing photography full time, I had no idea “what” "where" or "how" I was going to get there. Becoming a Photographer that is. Looking back I was quite the hot mess, sometimes I still feel that way ha. But Over the last 6 months I have found some clarity in it all.

When you first start you have a hundred people chiming in your ear, which I am thankful for. They say words like branding, Marketing, Direction, Specialize, Who are you? What are you, how are you going to be successful? What do you charge? Can you do a headstand, then 100 jumping jacks, and snap a shot of me doing one to?

Then you have doe eyed me, blank faced and speechless…queue the crickets please…

I had no idea how to answer any of those questions. I just thought, well I have a camera, I like to take photographs, I like food, and I like people. It is that simple. (But it wasn’t) So many other creatives make it look so simple, truth is I wasted too much time focusing on how to ‘make it' I missed all the key steps to getting there. I just got in the way of myself! I’m sure you have been there.

Then Last April, I ended up taking the most amazing trip out to Seattle and attended the Survival Guide Workshop, by John Keatly. It saved me. I am not kidding around here folks.

He taught us how to market, do business, charge people properly, become a real sustaining brand, and he taught me how to take a risk, to start putting my feet on those stepping-stones. We also had killer food, and pop quizzes. It’s not your average workshop. Plus, I walked away connecting to some supportive friends, some game changers who being the new girl, and they didn’t stomp all over me, they embraced the underdog.

For the last year, I have been able to put myself out there, gain some confidence, say I’m the girl for you, (or not). I’m getting clear on who I am which; in fact you do need to know if you are a creative. What am I willing to say no and yes to, as well as be humble enough to do the odd jobs while I get my feet off the ground.

So where am I going with all this? Well I am saying, If you are struggling creative, don’t give up, figure out what you need to get better at and find someone, anyone, or you tube how to get from here to there. Second, I’m just so freaking excited that all the little steps are coming together.

Now go make some popsicles!!



Strawberry Coconut Popsicle Recipe

 

Makes 12 Popsicle molds

Ingredients:

4 cans full fat coconut milk (chilled in refrigerator)

2 lbs strawberries (fresh or frozen)

3 eggs

1-tablespoon vanilla paste

1 bunch fresh basil

2- 3 cups raw sugar

1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 trays of Popsicle Molds

 

Directions:

 

Clean and Cut the ends of the strawberries, set aside. Measure out the sugar, the vanilla. Open the cans of coconut milk and separate the fat. Measure the fat out to 2 cups. Set aside the coconut water from the cans. Prep the basil, cut off stems and gently chop up.

Put a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove, place a small tsp. of olive oil, and cook the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice together. You will want to stir frequently, until all the water comes out of the strawberries. (About 5-10 min) Add in the basil and vanilla paste. Cook for another 5 min.

You know it will be finished when the strawberries aren’t as tart, with a strainer take out the strawberry mixture from the pot, place in a blender and blend until smooth.

Set aside the left over liquid from the mixture.

Put the coconut milk into the pot, add in the strawberries, cook until everything is smooth and no lumps are shown.

Take the strawberry coconut mixture off the heat, stir in the 3 eggs, taste to see if needs more sugar, or strawberry, or even more coconut. You want a smooth creamy strawberry flavor to come through.

Once finished, add your mixture to your molds. Freeze for 6-12 hours depending on your freezer, and enjoy!!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handmade Wooden Spoons, for the kitchen - Nicole Lee Phoenix Food Photographer


This winter I was commissioned to take on photographing and styling a small business who specializes in handmade Wood spoons, cutting boards and all sorts of other goodies! They are simply awesome. They are still in the process of setting up their shop but they go by a little name called Bo Woods! 

Below are my favorites from the project. Happy Thursday Friends! 

Cheers!  -N




handmade wood spoons






Easy dairy-free coconut vanilla ice cream recipe


I was about 13 and my sister was 11. It was august in phoenix, which meant it was 120 degrees out. My sister and I were really not used to this, we grew up in upstate NY. So in the summer you were outside. It was a foreign concept to us that summers consisted of TV, boredom, and getting really creative inside. So we decided to cook. The dream team, or maybe trouble making team.

My cooking experience included: making one batch of oatmeal cookies, (with my mother) making a batch of oatmeal cookies alone, and causing the oven to catch fire, and maybe making lots of pots of coffee. My parents believed in child labor.

I guess my parents thought we were old enough to cook without supervision, and clearly they had put me in charge of my sister yet again. We were sick of watching the tv and got our butts in the kitchen. We walked around, looking at what we had in the cubboards. Caroline found, the bisquick mix, (for those of you who don’t know this is a premade flour mix, which can be used for an assortment of baking).  Then I found peaches. Together we thought up peaches with sugar, cooked, over a biscuit. I guess we liked to use fancy words back then to describe our food.

I coated the peaches with sugar. Lots of sugar! The non–organic cane sugar full of GMO goodness. I put them in the toaster oven. She mixed up the biscuits and we popped them in the oven. We were cleaning up and we smelled something funny, then we saw something funny. Caroline Screams “ the toaster oven is on FIRE! I turned around, oh my GOD the toaster oven IS On FIRE! Then we looked at each other and simultaneously yelled “DAD come quick. Clearly we had no idea what we were doing. He put out the fire. We were shocked he didn’t get upset.

I think the peaches burned. Obviously they burned. We plated the biscuits grabbed the peaches and dolloped a huge pile of whip cream on top. SUCCESS!

My sister and I eagerly served our Dad and much to our surprise he ate it. But what followed was an honest critique;" its good, but you can do better" He told us. Man, have those words stuck with me until this day.

That memory always comes to me from time to time. It reminds me where I started. I started in the kitchen with my sister, side by side. See we used to fight a lot, maybe because we both were bit bossy and wanted things “our” way. Maybe its because we didn’t have the tools we do now. The point is cooking together, we always found neutral ground, and if we didn’t find a common space we would have probably killed each other many times over in the kitchen. So we learned how to do this mutual dance, a good one at that.

There is just something magical about cooking. Don’t you think? My hope is to inspire you out there to make some magic in the kitchen to. To mess up learn from it, and keep going! 

I am sad to say I wont give you that recipe for our burnt peaches. Instead I will give you a dairy-free vanilla ice cream recipe. Now the thing is its not vegan because there are eggs in it. Enjoy friends. Thanks for stopping by.

- Nicole

 



Coconut Vanilla Ice cream: makes 1 pint

2 ½ cans full fat coconut milk

½ cup of raw sugar, cane or turbine works fine

1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste

3 whole eggs and 3 egg whites lightly whisked

Directions:

1.     Place a large pot, or Dutch oven over the stove on medium heat. Add in the coconut milk, but be sure to add the two cans, then with the last can only take the fat of the coconut milk. Add in your sugar and vanilla and whisk. Heat until fully combined and the grains of sugar are gone.

2.     In a heatproof bowl, such as metal or glass, crack your eggs and lightly whisk. Add in your coconut mixture. Then stir and combine. Taste to see if you need to add more sugar or vanilla. Don’t go over board though. You are looking for a creamy, yet subtle vanilla taste.

3.     Then place in your ice cream machine and follow directions. Its key not to over churn. Once finished place in a baking tin, or ice cream storage bin lined with parchment paper.

4.     Serve with Figs and honey, chocolate chips or waffle cones! Enjoy! 


Gluten-free basil, thyme, olive oil rice crackers Recipe


I’ve mentioned this before but lets talk a little about failure. There is something important about showing our failures instead of sweeping them under the rug. Exposing our failures is much more humbling than trying to say it’s “all perfect”. This, this Failure thing was especially hard for me to put out there, but well I guess its much more fun to get back on the horse and keep going instead of wallowing in my own self-pity.

So yesterday I had this craving for Crackers, I like crackers, maybe more than the average person. It’s something about the crunch. It’s just so satisfying. Anyway I wondered around my kitchen and found we were out of crackers. So I thought should I make them? That seems like a lot of work, I don’t think I have time for this. After wrestling with myself and wasting at least 10 min I chose to suck it up and make the crackers. It turned out it took no time and then I got inspired to take some images, a double win.

Once I got the crackers out of the oven I was pumped. Again probably more than the average person, but I was. I accomplished making my own crackers I mean come on. So to my surprise they were less than, I mean the flavors were there but the texture was so inconsistent, I mean bad. The middle was soft, the edges were just right, but really how could I call this a win?? My perfectionism didn’t get the best of me though; I thought why not post it anyway. Bad crackers, failed recipe and all, I don’t have to sweep this mess under the rug. Maybe I am channeling my inner Julia Child?

So friends here you have a not so perfect, recipe for gluten free basil and thyme crackers. There will be some notes in there on how you can fix the imperfections. Also I’d love to hear from you if you come up with your own Cracker recipes! So we can compare notes!

Cheers and Happy Cooking!!

- Nicole

 

www.heydear.co



Gluten free Basil, Thyme and Olive Oil Crackers:

 

Ingredients:

2 cups rice flour

3/4-tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon dried Thyme

1 large bunch of fresh Basil (chopped with scissors)

1 tablespoon of baking powder

¼ cup water (plus extra as needed)

1 large egg

2 tablespoons of vegan butter

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of seeds of your choosing

Directions:

1.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. To keep the paper from coming up, you can poor some hi heat oil on the pan before laying the paper down. Once you are finished preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is heating move on to the dough.

2.  In a food processer add all the dry ingredients. Flour, Sugar, salt and your herbs. If you want a kick you can add a dash of fresh ground pepper. Then put on a low speed to make sure it’s combined. Then add in your vegan butter, olive oil, egg keep it blending on low until dough forms. Slowing add in the water at the end.  If it looks wet add a tablespoon more of rice flour.

3.  Divide the dough onto the two sheets. Take a rolling pin and sprinkle flour over it, as well as sprinkle some flour over the dough. Then begin to roll it out to fill the pans. Do your best to make sure it’s all the same thickness from middle to end. Then add your seed and light press those down with your rolling pin.

4. Bake in the oven for 12-15 min or until lightly golden. When you take them out brush the crackers with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt immediately.  Then ENJOY!