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


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    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

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    Source: www.heydear.co/blog

    LETTING GO PART 3 || HEALING YOUR BODY || GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE || FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE


    green smoothie recipe

    Healing your gut || 

    Hi Friends, 

    These last few years I’ve been on this rollercoaster journey to heal my body from its “autoimmune attacking nonsense”. No longer will I use the terms, “My body is attaching itself”, as this just gives it too much power. Instead I’ve chosen to change my language to “Your body has the power to heal itself”. Honestly, it wasn’t until these last few months that I actually believed it, in my heart, mind, and soul. It also wasn’t until I adopted that mantra I started to see real results, now I’m in the process of fine-tuning my health for good.

    Currently I’m reading “ The plant paradox by Dr. Stephan Gundry. In this book he talks about how the good foods aren’t really good” and the real medicine to heal autoimmune disorders (and desires) some forms of cancer, dementia, are through a different approach. Its not just about throwing pills at your system, but going to the root, healing your gut! Your gut has the power. He also educates you about lectin's and how they affect your body, and if you choose to eat them, how to prepare them differently to easily digest. It’s pretty mind blowing! (Well at least a Nerd like me thinks so).

    When it comes to the diet part of the book now it’s a pretty “extreme” regimen. For myself I was at the point where I was doing most of it. For others if you are on more of a traditional diet, but looking for answers on how to improve your health, it’s really worth it to give it a shot. I cut my inflammation in half the first 3 days I started. As of 3 weeks now I have been NAISD and Allergy medicine free. (I was on Allegra D and taking over the counter pain meds for my extreme periods). And if you know me, I wasn’t really functioning without them either. Instead I switched to supplements like turmeric + stinging nettle for allergies and inflammation. Which aren’t putting holes in my gut like those NAISDS. Did you know that just taking one just one over the counter pain pill is like swallowing a grenade, and then it explodes and puts tiny holes in the walls and lining of your stomach! Crazy, so instead of fixing your pain you are actually making it worse.  (Same goes for antibiotics, that’s a blog post for another day)

    For the first time I feel like its working. It hasn’t been easy, but I have this strength inside that tells me to keep going, it’s all worth it. See, the best part is you just are you. Do what you have to do to be the best version of yourself. For me right now, it’s trying new weird, Zen things to get my body + mind to connect to each other to feel good. That might be different for you. It’s about works for your body, and you are the only one steering that ship. With brainpower + food who knew that combination could actually work? (AND IT DOES)! I’m excited about the new gumption I have been feeling, and I hope you find yours too.

    Thanks for listening. Below is a recipe for Green Smoothie from “The Plant Paradox”, by Dr. Steven Gundry, MD.

    Cheers!   - Nicole


    Green Smoothie recipe | Cleansing | detox

    GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE:

    1 cup chopped romaine lettuce

    ½ cup baby spinach

    1 mint spring – with stem

    ½ avocado

    4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon

    3-6 drops stevia extract

    ¼ cup ice cubes

    1 cup filtered or tap water

    TIP: add spoonful of moonjuice probiotics for extra kick, or vital reds to the smoothie.

    Directions:

    Place all of the ingredients into a high powered blender( if you have a Vitamix thumbs up, a magic bullet should work too). Blend on high until smooth and fluffy. If its thick add 1 tablespoon of water blend and repeat until thinner.

    You can store for up to 3 days in the fridge.


    Green Smoothie Recipe

    CAROL+NEIL || INTIMATE SEDONA ELOPEMENT || PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE ||



    Hello Friends,

    Sometimes we tend to get lost in all the details of wedding planning, in the pressures to please everyone else. Wedding planning, whether you elope or go the traditional route is stressful. I remember planning my own wedding way back when (10 years ago to be exact), and having everyone around us having opinions about EVERYTHING. People seem to chime in whether you ask them to or not.  The thing is with Carol + Neil, they were smart enough to take note and say, lets tell our story, the way we want for US. And that’s exactly what they did. Best part, the elopement was a big secret, and they were going to send out an announcement after their honeymoon to let everyone know “we’ve eloped”. GENIUS. I admire them. They have gumption!

    Here is Carol + Neil’s Sedona Elopement Story.  

    Cheers,

    -Nicole


    CAROL + NEIL|| ELOPEMENT || SEDONA, MAY 25 2017.



    LETTING GO || PART 2 || FACING YOUR FEARS|| PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE



    “Letting go”, it sounds easy right? I cling tightly to shields, put on armor; masks even, to protect myself, fearful to let too many people get close. Why would I do that? Well, it’s too scary to let people in.

    For some odd 25 years I’ve been doing this, granted I’m only 29. I’ve lived a lot of lives, and seen a lot of things. This past weekend I had a session with my therapists and they said this, you have the survival gene, most people wouldn’t have survived what you went through as a child and young adult. The tools you used, the methods you fought with, worked and got you here. But now its time to choose to put the armor down, and stop taking everyone one out. The battle is over. Take a step back and look around where you are, you aren’t there anymore in the chaos, you are here present day in 2017. So I let that sink right in. Deep. That’s it? That’s how you let go? I think it is.                                                                                                                                                      

    Over the past few weeks I’d been asking myself, how do I let go? I want to so desperately to really do it. Let go, be my best self, always. I mean that is what I am striving for. I was having a hard time connecting my brain to the actions. I was doing the actions, but my brain couldn’t make sense of it all. See, I want to have the weight lifted off my shoulders, and breathe easy. I want to stop waiting for the floor to sink out from under me. Hearing my therapist say what they did in the session, I had a light bulb moment. It’s this time where I aloud myself permission to finally surrender the flag, and start living life. In that moment, right there.

    Now what? Is it as easy as saying yes I get it and erasing everything that happened in the 25 years of my life? Maybe…. See, once you know the core of your crap, where it came from, what it is, what tools you use (good or bad). You can finally start saying (to yourself) stop it. I don’t need to use that tool, it isn’t necessary, and I’m safe. What I’m talking about is, those moments where you find yourself in an anxiety-ridden tizzy, instead of running in circles around it, you face it, check it out, and you explore it. When you face it, you will know what to do with it. Sounds “kooky”, but it works.

    The way I look at it is this, I have two choices, I can use the armor to fend off the Calvary, take the sward and finish them all off. – Or I can retrain myself, learn new tools, stop, and be the person who I already know how to be, kind, loving, caring. Option one works, but will be the harder road. With option two, although it seems scary as hell to put down the armor, it feels freeing to let the walls down and walk a new unknown path.

    Thanks for listening friends, below are some IPHONE Self Portraits I took, and editing on my phone using the vscocam app. 

    Cheers,  - Nicole 




    GLUTEN FREE STRAWBERRY TOAST RECIPE || EASY FOOD | FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE



    Hello Friends,

    This quick recipe for gluten free strawberry toast is all about getting in some nutrients while also making sure your meal is tasty. No one likes cardboard. Lately, I’m into easy food, yet I don’t want to just grab those fries each time. Food can be fuss free, taste good, and make you feel great. Give it a go; this toast will change your life.

    Cheers and happy cooking

    Nicole x





    GF + DF STRAWBERRY TOAST RECIPE || NICOLE LEE

    Ingredients:

    -1 loaf of gluten free bread

    -Raw honey (2 – tablespoons)

    -Nut Butter (mixed, almond, peanut)

    -Chia Seeds

    -Fresh Strawberries (1-2 pints)

    -Toaster

    Directions:  Clean and roughly chop your strawberries, removing the stems. Set aside. Toast your bread to your hearts desire. Spread with a decent layer of nut butter, and honey. Place the strawberries on top. Finish with a sprinkle of chia seeds. Repeat for as many pieces of toast you’d like to make. Enjoy!



    LEARNING TO LET GO || PERSONAL | ANXIETY | FACING FEARS, PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE




    Hello Friends, 

    Its been awhile. 

    Over the past few months I hit a low. My Anxiety hit an all time high. I justified my anxiety because of the unpredictable events, house having mold, (or falling apart as Ryan would say) having to be flexible about the whole thing, being defeated by my children’s school, and the social behaviors they were dealing with, (Actually, still are dealing with) and then Work…

    How did I juggle it? I dropped all the balls. There was no certainty in my little world, everything was swirling around me and I stood and watched while all the clouds came rolling in. I didn’t know which way was out, which way let the floods came in, or even how to be safe. Or keep everyone else safe.


    0348 BW FLORALS 4.jpg


    So I froze. And then froze some more. Instead of coming up with sensible solutions, I internalized everything, and outwardly put on a persona that was FINE by society standards. My goal was just to get through the day to day. To practice being easy going about the whole thing until I really believed it. But there were a few times I was like, when is the next crap thing going to happen? 

     When the clouds finally subsided, I thought I got this. I have been dealing with anxiety since age 6 and honestly I’ve been through much harder crap. Certainty is what I really longed for. In an uncertain situation I made matters worse, then I remembered my therapists saying, you will never have certainty. The world can’t give you that. REALLY?? At first I thought NO. HELL NO. My heart said, there has to be another way. The only way to get certainty is to make your own. Why not channel my inner survival mode instincts? Use them for good, not to fuel my anxiety. Maybe this is the best idea I’ve had in a long time…. Its time to get back on the horse stop looking left or right and plow straight ahead. 

    Letting go “game plan”. The plan includes the things I am in control of; ME+ MY actions…

    1.  Let go. - Life is unpredictable. Letting go isn’t easy, but when you do it feels so freeing.

    2.  Truly be easy going. (No matter what) - As “cheesy” as it sounds, it’s an opportunity to learn when unexpected life events happen. Showing your kids you can stay calm when shit hits the fan is a true gift. Best part, they become easy going people too.                                                        

    3.  Health (mental and physical) - Talking to therapist is always a good idea.  Exercising has done wonders for my mental health, subsides anxiety, and makes you feel SEXY!                                

    4. Parenting - Committing to teaching my children to socially interact, defeat bullies, to make the world a better place, and WIN AT LIFE.                                                                                          

    5. Home- Being Patient. Doing what we can in our time with our house AND BEING OKAY WITH THAT.                                                                                                                                          

    6. Anxiety - FACE IT. DON’T RUN FROM IT. GET BACK ON THE HORSE. AND STAY ON, EVEN WHEN YOU HIT THE BUMPS.  ( AND, Damn those hurt!)

    Thanks for listening folks; I’m excited to be back in the swing of things. And for this new uncertain chapter called LIFE. Leave a comment below, would love to hear from you!! 

    Cheers,

    Nicole



     

     

     

    MOLD YOU WILL NOT BE THE DEATH OF ME || ARIZONA LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER NICOLE LEE || PERSONAL POST



    Dear Friends, 

    My apologies for my slight disappearance these last few months friends. I have found myself (and family) knee deep in black mold. First we found it in our bedroom bathroom, behind the toilet and inside the wall. So Ryan then removed it. Then we suspected it in the kitchen, so he demoed that too. Which he found more mold in the walls of the cabinets and sink. The island and storage next to the fridge is what is currently intact.

    While this was being taken care of my very kind Aunt and Uncle let us stay with them. Since I am highly allergic, it’s not smart for me to be in the environment when removal is happening. In fact we ended up finding it because I had become a cesspool of sickness for months, and even though hidden behind walls I was still reacting from it. Finally once the mold was removed and air was clean again (about a week) we went back home.

    A few days after returning home, we had some heavy rains here. I was doing some work on my computer and heard some noises. I investigated finding a leak in the dinning room ceiling. I noticed a water bubble in the wall and I just started nervously laughing, someone is “punking me”. Where is ASHTON? I know he will pop up here soon….

    So we called the insurance again, it took about a week for them to come out. The adjuster came and inspected the leak. He Chatted with Ryan about how there is nothing he or the insurance could do; unfortunately this was just normal home wear and tear. But he suggested, because of the leak you should pull out the drywall and make sure there is no mold growth under there. That evening, I took the kids to dinner and Ryan ripped out the wall.

    Guess what? We found the source… a large I mean, large amount of black mold right there in the ceiling. That night we stayed in a hotel. Now we needed to sort out how to make sure it was gone for good! This owning a home is serious business folks.




    Plan of action (to defeat MOLD!):  

    -Make sure we get the mold out, Clean (spray down with mold control, the area, and check the rest of the house for hidden spots)

    -Get it dry, Tarp it off, put dehumidifier in the space, Keep the air cool

    -Figure out how to function in house without kitchen

    -Sort out health, do more research, breathe, breathe again

    -Make sure to listen to my therapist; she said looks like another opportunity to practice being “easy going” listen to this advice

    -Stay Calm

    -Call contractors

    -Call roofing companies

    -Call tree removal services

    - Breathe again

    -Plan a home remodel

    -Be excited about new kitchen, bedroom bathroom, dinning room, painting the house, (cutting down a tree that is causing your house to fall apart)

    -Don’t feel guilty about cutting down a tree that is making your house fall apart

    -Embrace Change

    - Act like you are camping

    - Cook outside, Cook food on induction burners, use crockpot, and get creative

    - Wash dishes in the bathroom (no judgments please!)

    - Get kids to pitch in

    - Use survival instincts

    - Push through until its finished

    - Be easy going with the timeline of projects (contractors are busy)

    - Remember this can be fun!

    -Embrace the uncertainty

    In some odd way I am glad we found it. Even though my house is currently a construction zone, and it’s not nearly “perfect”. I can actually say I’m okay with it.

     Life didn’t give me lemons, but I’d say more like some blank canvas to start creating on. This is an opportunity instead of loss. It’s just a house, its just “stuff”.

    Mold will not be the death of me. Challenge accepted.  

    - Cheers Friends, Nicole

    P.S. As we progress with the house I will slowly add updates, thanks for listening friends!