Friday, April 27, 2012

A Busy Week and Homemade Coffee Creamer

This week just flew by for us. I'm so glad I get to relax and slow down this weekend!

Michael's been working a lot, which is great since work always slows down during the off season. I've been busy editing photos and just taking it easy.

I've also been thinking about expanding on a lot of ideas I've had whirling around in my head. I'm thinking of selling some vintage items online. I love finding treasures at thrift stores and often I'll bring something home and then eventually feel like it's time to pass it on. And often, I'll find some really awesome stuff! The thing is, most of the stuff I want to part with is still in perfectly good condition. Instead of just throwing it out or storing it until I can find someone who could use it, I figured, "why not sell it?"

I plan on continuing to donate my clothes and other household items we don't need anymore, I think I'm just going to sell some of the really great vintage items I've come across and no longer want. I still plan on keeping photography as my main focus, but it's fun to have projects and side "jobs". (doesn't feel like a job if it's fun!)

I've got some other ideas I'm tossing around, but I'll have to reveal those when they're more solid plans! ;)

Now, for my recipe this week!

A couple weeks ago, I got a coupon for a free bottle of coffee creamer in the mail (I signed up to receive one on Facebook).  Michael and I usually just use whole milk and sugar in our coffee since creamer is one of those things we cut back on to save a few dollars here and there. Since I had the coupon for the free bottle I decided it would be a treat.

The thing is, I'm all too aware of what is in that coffee creamer: ingredients I can hardly pronounce, chemicals I've never heard of, and hydrogenated oils.


I've always known coffee creamers are full of strange things I've never even heard of (they even say dairy free) , but I just ignored it and tried to enjoy my coffee. Well, not anymore! I just can't justify feeding it to myself and my family.

I decided to make my own coffee creamer from now on! I did some hunting around (here's one site that has some good ones) and research and after finding a few recipes and sort of creating my own, I made a coffee creamer I really enjoy and tastes better than the kind you buy at the market. Yum!

So here's the recipe for you to try out. I plan on experimenting with different flavors and coming up with different combinations of flavorings. I'll definitely be updating with what I come up with!

French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

What you'll need:

  • 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (or 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 C milk (I used whole, but anything would work)
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbs maple syrup (or extract)
In a medium sauce pan whisk together the two types of milk over medium heat. Right before it boils, turn the heat off and add the flavorings. Whisk. Pour into glass containers and allow to cool. Keeps in the fridge for about 10 days. Enjoy!

Next time I think I'll try using a vanilla bean and using actual maple syrup. I made this for the first time late at night, and couldn't run out to pick up the different ingredients. So, I just used what I already had.

I also LOVE pumpkin pie spice, so I think I'll try that one next. 

Let me know how yours turns out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weekend at the Cabin

This past weekend Michael and I went up to the cabin in Utah, to spend time with his family and help his dad out with a few things up there.

Whenever we're up there it's usually really difficult to come home. It's just so beautiful and peaceful. I can't help but feel so free. The cabin sits right against Bryce Canyon National Park so the land is government owned. That means no big development and not very many houses close by.

as you can see, we had GORGEOUS weather

I had another session while we were up there, this time senior pictures. Michael's cousin, Grace, is graduating from high school and heading off to college, soon! 

I'm in the process of editing her session still, so for now I'll only share a few photos.

Pretty lady, right??

And amazing scenery! I just feel so blessed and in awe that all these photos were taken right on our family's property. I feel so thankful that I get to experience God's beauty this way. 

I'm off to continue editing and working on some new posts, including a new recipe post. 

Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lemon Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

frying up some brussels sprouts

So, the other day on Instagram I had a really exciting thing happen! 

For those of you who don't know what Instagram is, it's a really fun app for sharing photos with friends and exploring other people's photos. I would say it's like Twitter, but instead of 160 characters, you have a photo and a caption. You can learn more about it, here and find me on there under: thelavenderfield, and if you don't have a smartphone, find me here.

Anywho... I often update my Instagram feed with photos of what I'm doing, scenes I think are pretty, silly things my husband's doing, and of course... what I'm eating. I love food, so it's only natural! 

The other day, a very nice lady came across my feed and asked me how I had prepared the brussels sprouts I had photographed. She explained that she had NEVER enjoyed brussels sprouts but that they looked really delicious in my photo (they totally are!). I happily sent her the recipe and insisted that she let me know how she liked them once she made them herself, and she agreed to get back to me. 

Well, about a week after that, she messaged me on IG to let me know that she had LOVED my recipe and that she was sad that she had to share the sprouts with the rest of her family! lol She then asked me if I had a food blog somewhere since she saw my photos of some other dishes I had made and posted. 

Needless to say, I was so flattered! I didn't think my recipe for the sprouts was anything special since the preparation is so simple and is really just a combination of flavors that I really enjoy. But hey, when I'm searching for new recipes to try out, that's pretty much what I look for: simple with good flavor! 

So, all this to say, I will now be posting my recipes, on occasion! As of right now, I'm unable to make it a regular series, but I will do my best to post more recipes as I perfect them. Although, I would like to keep this primarily as a photo blog, I'm happy to share here!

For the inaugural recipe post, I think it's only fitting to share my brussels sprouts recipe. Enjoy!

Lemon Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
  • About 6 smallish fresh, brussels sprouts (if they're small, they're more tender and less bitter)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice from half a medium lemon
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese

Slice off the hard ends of the sprouts, then slice them in half, longways. Warm up the butter and olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and toss in the sprouts. Stir them around to coat, and sprinkle with garlic powder, a dash of salt and pepper, and squeeze about half the juice of the lemon. Fry for about 10 mins., stirring occasionally. When sprouts are tender (they'll be a little soft when poked with a fork), remove from heat. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with parmesan and squeeze some more lemon juice onto them. Add some more seasonings, if needed. Enjoy!

I usually make these as a snack for myself. The great thing is that you can totally tweak this recipe to suit your tastes. Sometimes I'll add chili powder, and sometimes I'll have to add a little more salt and pepper depending on the sprouts. 

Let me know, if you try them out!

Have a great weekend, everybody. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Surprise Dates, Flowers and an Easter Without Pictures

a few photos I took recently, and really enjoyed

The first two photos are from a really fun date Michael recently surprised me with. We had a lot of fun and I'm pretty sure we ate our weight in food that night. After dinner, all we could do was lie down and weight for our food to digest. Hahaha

Sighhh... I think my new favorite flowers are ranunculus. Who am I kidding? I can't chose. I have so many favorites! I just think flowers are so beautiful and they make me so happy. I especially love looking at them and just marveling at what a great artist our God is, and what the beauty he creates in nature, tells us about his personality. 

Trader Joe's has been stalking up on some really pretty spring buds (that's where I picked up those beauties), and every time I go in I must look like a goof just standing in front of the display, staring at all the different flowers. I think I stand there for about 5 mins (or more!) just staring at them and trying to choose which ones to bring home.

moonset on easter morning

sunrise on easter morning

I hope everyone had a peaceful and relaxing Easter weekend! Michael and I definitely had a nice weekend spending time with family and relaxing a bit, too. 

We made it down to the beach to watch the sun come up. It was so gorgeous. A pod of dolphins came so close to shore while we were watching the moon slowly disappear. It was amazing! 

It's a little embarrassing to admit though, that as we were driving to the beach to watch the sunrise, I was not a very happy camper. The night before, I had set out my DSLR, all ready to go with the lens I planned on using the next morning. Right before we get to the beach I realize that even though I had my camera and my lenses, I didn't have my memory card. 


I was so bummed out (at least I had my phone)! I knew the sunrise would be amazing and beautiful and I had been looking forward to getting some fantastic pictures that morning. But I had to remind myself what we were celebrating and what that day meant. Maybe that's what I was supposed to be focused on; not capturing my next image, but on what Jesus' death and resurrection means to me and for me. 

It was an amazing morning anyway, and it was nice just watching the beach fill up with other people. I watched another man get to the beach pretty early, dressed like he may have been a construction worker (neon vest and everything), collecting shells right by the water. Who knows if he was just getting off work? Or maybe he was about to go in? When I see people that intrigue me I always wonder and want to know their stories. Maybe I'm just nosy! hah!

I think I have another session coming up fairly soon. Senior class pictures this time, which should be pretty nice. So check back soon! I'll be updating the site over the next week or so, and I'll also be posting some of my recipes for some of the meals I've made and photographed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Grace, Friends, and Food Trucks

Here are the photos from my shoot with Grace. Isn't she cute?? I still can't get over her hair and her amazing eyelashes!! She also looks so grown up in that last picture. :)

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Michael and I had a fantastic weekend of eating at some great restaurants, spending time with family, and going out on a date. 

We also had the opportunity to spend time with some new friends!! Another married couple about our age, that got married about a week after us. I've been praying and asking God to bless me with friends that I can talk to and really connect with. I think he answered my prayers. :) 

Michael and I had a blast spending time with them, and I'm sure we'll see them again, soon!

Also, we FINALLY got to eat from a food truck!!!

My dream came trueeeee!! haha

After stalking a truck called the The Buttermilk Truck, for about a month on Twitter, they were finally near our area so we headed on down to get some food. Only thing was... we went around 6 in the evening. The Buttermilk Truck serves pancakes and waffles and I just wasn't feeling pancakes for dinner that day. 

We get to where they set up (along with a few other food trucks) and I see a truck called The Frysmith.



I couldn't help myself, I ordered their Angus beef chili fries, and they were heavenly...

Michael kept teasing me and saying, "I can't believe after all that talk about the Buttermilk Truck, you didn't order pancakes from them!!" 

What can I say? Fried food (especially chili on top of fried food) trumps pancakes any day of the week, in my book. :P

a few photos from my phone

P.S. I'm definitely still stalking the Buttermilk Truck on Twitter for the next time they're in our area.