First Comes Love

Hello there friends! I hope that all of  y’all had a wonderful long weekend. We spent the weekend with my best friend and her husband, showing them all that there is to see in Asheville. We hiked with puppies, we drank in the Blue Ridge doing her thing, we ate delicious food, and we wandered, wandered, wandered. Oh, and…

The Kiwi proposed!

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

I’ve been dying to get on the Appalachian Trail, so Zane suggested that we take a day off and head up there for a day hike. When Zane lived in the States before, he bought an oil painting of Roan Mountain by local artist, John McKinney. As he was planning where and how he’d pop the question, he thought about how special it would be to have a painting of where we got engaged, so he took us to that part of the AT. I had no clue where we were going or the significance of the location once we arrived.

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

After a little bit of hiking, a snake scare, and a sweet picnic with juicy peaches, we stopped to take some pictures of the Blue Ridge doing her thing and he popped that question! Obviously I said yes, a million times, yes. {Actually, I said yes before he was even finished with the question.}

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

To be perfectly frank, and I think it’s important that I be so because there are a whole lot of assumptions in this whole getting married hooplah, I knew it was coming. It was not a surprise. Zane and I talk about little decisions ad nauseam, so we really couldn’t imagine NOT talking about this huge one. While being surprised is nice, I’m so glad that Z knows me well enough to include me in the planning and takes my opinions into consideration. He’s progressive like that and I think it’s pretty romantic. He still managed to blow me away with his thoughtfulness with the ring, the location, and his sweet words that will stay with me forever.

A few months ago, we went to a local goldsmith about designing the ring. Zane had a wonderfully, romantic concept for the ring and with a little alteration and lots of moving tiny diamonds around, we settled on a layout that captured his concept and that placated my longing for a marquis solitaire setting. The four stones represent the Southern Cross which is like the Southern Hemisphere’s North Star. It’s used for guidance and finding your way on a journey and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it! We make a good team, that Kiwi and I.

We are so excited to be on this journey together, and we’re looking forward to making it official and celebrating with our loved ones from around the world in these mountains we call home.

First Comes Love from Kiwi and Peach

 

 

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Kiwi+Peach Turns One + Spiked Peach Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

Kiwi and Peach has officially been steaming along for one whole year! What a year it’s been?! Y’all have traveled to 5 different continents with us, made a transatlantic move with us and weathered a few storms with us. Y’all have been an integral part of this journey and we want to thank you for being so wonderfully supportive and game for adventure.

Kiwi+Peach Turns One + Spiked Peach Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

Food is the lens through which we experience the world. It’s been a way of expressing myself creatively, and I love getting to share that with y’all. In turn, y’all have shared your experiences with me helping us both to learn and grow. It’s beautiful, this blogging thing. As we look ahead to what the future holds for Kiwi and Peach, we are nothing but excited. There are some huge things coming up in the next year like the launching of our meal planning service, The Seasonal Supper and the opening of our very own Etsy shop! We can’t wait to be able to continue to share our lives with you.

Kiwi+Peach Turns One + Spiked Peach Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

We started the year out as strictly a food and travel blog and have some how ended up more squarely in the lifestyle category. If there is anything I’ve learned, it’s that you have to write from your heart. As we continue to grow, pass through big changes and experience life’s milestones, I find more and more that my heart is leading me to share more than just recipes. We always want to provide you guys with great content that is helpful and insightful and something you can connect to, but life isn’t as black and white as a recipe. You can’t just add one cup good food, half cup decent beer, five teaspoons adventurous travel, throw in a slice of bacon and have a perfect cake every time. Life is more nuanced than that

Kiwi+Peach Turns One + Spiked Peach Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

I’ll be honest. While my heart has been telling me that this is the direction the blog is moving for a while, I have been hesitant to start calling ourselves a ‘lifestyle’ blog because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that y’all just come here for recipes. That my voice and what I have to say about life in general isn’t as strong of a pull as my granola recipe. Maybe it isn’t. But if there is one thing I have learned about this blogging thing it’s that it pays to follow your heart. As long as your voice is true and authentic people will connect with it. So that’s what I’m doing.

Kiwi+Peach Turns One + Spiked Peach Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be sharing recipes, just not as many. If you are just here for the recipes, I highly suggest you subscribe to The Seasonal Supper. You’ll get 20+ recipes, meal planning tools, and super cute calendars and organizational print goods every three months and all the support I can give to help make meal time at your house go a smoothly as possible.

On the blog though, we are going to diversify a little bit. There will probably be more than a few posts about our home and building a life in a new town. There will be posts about our outdoor adventures in these beautiful mountains we live in. There will be posts about how we orchestrate this DIY lifestyle and how you can streamline the process. And there will be posts about other stuff—fears, joys, fears, success, trials. We sure hope you’ll stick around for many years to come!

Kiwi+Peach Turns One + Spiked Peach Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

 

You guys just want to eat some cupcakes, don’t you? I’ll stop rambling then and get to it. How better to celebrate this blog’s 1st birthday than with a boozy cupcake stuffed full of peaches and garnished with a slice of kiwi fruit. This is not a ‘healthy’ dessert—this is a pastry flour and lots of sugar kind of dessert, and you know, there is nothing wrong with one of those every now and again. Remember, our favorite saying; “Eat what you want, just make it yourself.” So let’s get to making!

Spiked Peach Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

{makes 10-12 cupcakes}

1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla paste {or extract}
2 tsp bourbon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
heaping 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of baking soda
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup creme fraiche {or sour cream}
1/2 cup diced fresh peaches

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Then add the egg, vanilla, and bourbon. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the creme fraiche to the wet ingredients until everything is incorporated. Gently fold in the the peaches. Line a cupcake pan with liners and fill each cup 3/4 of the way full. Pop them in the oven and bake for 22-24 minutes. When they’re finished, turn them out onto a cooling rack.

Bourbon Buttercream

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp bourbon
1 tsp vanilla paste {or extract}

Beat the butter and powdered sugar together until they form a ball around the paddle. Gradually add the bourbon and the vanilla paste until the mixture is light and fluffy. Pipe onto to cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

 

What To Do with Dried Beans

There is a home video of my parents cooking dinner when I was about one. I was obviously doing something adorable while my mom was fixing dinner and my dad whipped out the massive 80’s video camera to document it. What he actually documented was the state of our family dinners at the time—a couple of LeanCuisines being heated up and dinner was ready at the beep. I can’t fault them. This stuff was billed as ‘healthy,’ and they were both working full time in demanding jobs. Dinner was an afterthought.

You see, I grew up in a canned bean kind of family. ‘Healthy’ convience foods were the name of the game, and if it couldn’t be made in 30 minutes, it wasn’t going in the rotation. I’m not saying it was all LeanCuisine (or God forbid Hamburger Helper), but there was definitely a reliance on pre-made seasoning packets and canned vegetables, beans, etc that I thought was completely normal and even ‘healthy.’

I’ll be the first to admit that there are much worse things out there in the world of processed food than canned beans, but when we started this journey of buying as close to nature as possible and making the stuff in our pantry as opposed to buying it, I learned a bit about this alternative to the can. I use the word alternative sarcastically because really, this is the way people have been doing it for thousands of years and how much of the world still prepares beans which are a staple in loads of traditional diets around the world. For the last few years we’ve mostly used the dried variety for all of our bean needs for a few reasons:

What To Do with Dried Beans from Kiwi and Peach

Dried beans are cheaper than their canned cousins by a significant amount and they last almost indefinitely. In Germany, I also found more variety of beans in the dried form which meant I could eat black eyed peas which made me a very happy southern woman.

By using dried beans we avoided the BPA in the plastic linings of some cans. BPA reacts in the body like a hormone and I don’t need anything else throwing that our of whack! BPA is actually banned in the EU in items for children and there has been an overwhelming push as of late for companies both here and abroad to make BPA-free cans because no one wants that gunk in their food. (Though most of us are screwed anyway because we’ve been eating it our whole lives. Wunderbar!)

You avoid the extra sodium and random seasonings that get stuck in the can with the beans. I always, always, always ended up rinsing my canned beans because I wanted to add my own seasoning. It was a pain and I was always irritated that I was probably paying more for the can because it had the seasonings in there.

But the biggest reason that we’ve stuck with using dried beans once we returned to the States is this…

Using dried beans isn’t hard. It’s actually pretty straight forward. They do require a little bit of forethought, but they’re really hands-off and they freeze beautifully. A little bit of work goes a really long way.

I also have a little trick that makes dried beans my go-to for weeknights. At the weekends, make a big batch and freeze it in 1½ cup sized portions. That way, on weeknights, you can pull them out of the freezer just like you would pull a can out of your pantry.

Are you convinced? Let’s pretend you are and let’s make some beans! There are two different ways I like to go about cooking beans and I’ll talk about them both. Here goes:

What To Do with Dried Beans from Kiwi and Peach

What To Do with Dried Beans

If your recipe calls for 1 can of beans you are going to want to use about ½ cup of dried beans. Dried beans will produce, on average, about 3 times the amount when cooked.

½ cup dried = 1½ cups cooked = a 15oz can of beans

The Quick Soak
This is the method I use most often because I usually forget to put them on to soak the night before.

Bring a stock pot full of water to a boil and then remove from the heat. Measure and rinse your beans then add them to the pot. Cover with a lid and let them soak for at least 2 hours.

After those 2 hours, drain off the water. Fill the stock pot with fresh water and salt it well. Bring the new water to a boil add the beans to the pot. Reduce the temperature to medium low and let them cook for about an hour to an hour and a half. Drain and you’re ready to go.

{The length of time depends on how firm you like your beans and how you will be cooking them later. If I’m going to be making chili, I usually only cook them for an hour. Burritos I’ll cook them a bit longer because I’m going to mash them to make refried beans.}

The Overnight Soak
First thing you want to do is grab a bowl that won’t stain. Measure and rinse your beans then add them to the bowl. Fill the bowl with a generous amount of water, cover with a tea towel and let it sit overnight.

When you’re ready to cook them the next day, bring a stock pot full of salted water to a boil, drain off the water the beans were soaking in and add the beans to the pot. Reduce the temperature to medium low and let them cook for about an hour to an hour and a half. Drain and you’re ready to go.

 

{JAM} Conor Oberst: Another Travelin’ Song

My inner 15 year-old’s dreams came true last Friday. The Kiwi and I went to see Conor Oberst at the Orange Peel in Asheville. I’ve seriously wanted to see him for so long and this was the first time it worked out. They say good things come to those who wait, and let me tell you, it was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. If you’re a fan, or even if you’re not {yet}, go see him live. He will rock your world.

This one has been in my head all week long. What are you listening to? Doing any travelin’ this weekend?

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

The kale phenom is not really a thing in Germany yet. While the foodies here in the States were having a heyday with The Chosen Brassica, those of us in Germany were left in a kale desert just wondering, why is it so special? Upon our return to the States, my mission was to find out.

I am a pretty big fan of the dark leafy green family as a whole. Collards, turnip greens, spinach—get in my belly! While I don’t think that kale is a particular stand out among the family, I do think it is delicious and a wonderful thing to eat. Western North Carolina seems to be a very happy place for kale (and it’s friend chard) to grow, so we are literally up to our ears in kale now. From desert to bounty!

One of my favorite ways to eat it though is the ever popular kale chip. Salt and vinegar potato chips are definitely my kryptonite, so the finding something with the same crunch and flavor profile with tons more vitamins and minerals (and like a tenth of the calories) was pretty exciting. You guys know me though, there is no way I’m paying those kinds of prices for something I can make for just the price of a bundle of kale, and there is no reason you should have to either. So let’s make some shall we?

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips from Kiwi and Peach

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Destem the kale and shred it into chip sized pieces.

Toss with the olive oil, salt, and vinegar. Spread them out into a single layer on a couple of lined baking sheets and pop them in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end. You want them crispy, but not charred.

There you have it—enjoy those guilt free chips! If you are going to eat them straight away, I like to toss the finished chips in a bit more vinegar because I like them super vinegary, but that is totally up to you!

Rustic Stag Silhouette Wall Art Tutorial

There are a lot of not-so-fun parts of moving house, but it’s not all heavy lifting and phone calls. My favorite thing is having a completely blank slate to make into a space that reflects the personality of the people that live there.

I’m pretty crafty. I haven’t talked much about how it extends to our home here on what is usually a food blog, but that motivation that inspires me to make my own ketchup or pizza dough is the same one that makes me totally game to build our own bed as opposed to buying it. I love DIY and I’m really lucky that my brain seems to have the bent. Since moving in back in January, we’ve been busy, busy doing lots of projects. Based on y’all reactions to the Kiwi’s post about building our own bed (it’s had almost 20,000 views!), I don’t think y’all will mind my sharing a few of these projects with y’all. I want to give y’all the tools, inspiration, and how-to know-how to take your creativity out of the kitchen and make the rest of your home just as homemade and beautiful as your dinner.

One of these days we are going to do a tour of our whole little bungalow, but since we started in the bedroom with the bed, why don’t we hang out there for a while. Our lath and plaster, 1920s walls were just begging for some love, and while nailing into them hoping to find a stud was out of the question, going big and doing the lean was totally doable. In Bavaria, deer heads or antlers are everywhere and while we certainly aren’t gunning for Uncle Bubba’s taxidermy collection, we needed a little stag to make us feel at home. Plus I’m loving silhouettes right now, because class, so obviously this had to happen.

Stag Silhouette Wall Art Tutorial from Kiwi and Peach

Rustic Stag Silhouette Wall Art Tutorial

Supply List
wood
stain
2 pieces of wood just shorter than the whole project
screws
drill
acrylic paint
brushes
stag template

I started by scrounging up some leftover bits of wood. We had just built a bed, so we had plenty of scraps laying around. I ended up using 1×3’s and a couple pieces of old siding found in my folks basement. I wanted it to be as wide as the dresser it would be sitting on which was 19 inches, so I cut my pieces to 19 inches and stacked them until I liked the height:width ratio. If you don’t have a specific size in mind try going for one of the standard picture frame sizes like 11×17 or 16×20. It doesn’t have to be exact.

Stain the wood and give it time to dry, about 24 hours.

Once dry, stack the pieces to your liking and flip the whole project over. Sit the 2 extra pieces of wood on top of the project so that it is perpendicular to the other pieces. These braces are what is going to hold the whole project together, so make sure it covers almost the length.

Use a drill to screw the braces to the wood starting at the bottom and working your way up. Make sure to put a screw into each piece of wood and at least two in one of them to prevent twistage. You also might want to pre-drill the ones at the top and bottom so that it doesn’t split like ours did. If you wanted to hang this, it would be a piece of cake to screw two eye hooks to the inside of the two pieces and run picture hanging wire between them.

Stag Silhouette Wall Art Tutorial from Kiwi and Peach

Now flip it back over and let’s get that deer on there. I just free-handed it, but if that makes you a little anxious, I’ve made a template you can follow. Some  printers will do enlargements, but if yours doesn’t, you can head over to Kinkos or Staples and have them blow it up to the size of your project for about a buck.

Cut it out and lightly trace around the template then just color within the lines with your paint. Let it dry for a quick minute and voila, your very own stag silhouette art.

Stag Silhouette Wall Art Tutorial from Kiwi and Peach


Just a few more weeks to sign up for our meal planning service, The Seasonal Supper! Our first collections roll out on June 1st, and I know you don’t want to miss out on a single day of fresh, seasonal recipes and loads of meal planning tools. At just $19.99 a season for four weeks of recipes, meal line-ups, grocery lists, calendars as well as blank tools that you can tweak to make work for you and your life, it’s a steal!

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Let’s Chat

Let's Chat | New Post from Kiwi and Peach

Hello there my dears! How was your weekend?

I kind of kept it on the down low, but my birthday was last week, hence the little mini break! Man, we sure have been doing 26 up right. Of course by doing it up right I mean I was sick, running a ridiculous fever, and lost my voice BUT I ate lots and lots of birthday Derby Pie so there’s a silver lining.

Thankfully the Kiwi and I celebrated at the weekend, before mystery illness struck. He cooked for me all weekend making my favorite and said birthday pie. We went hiking with the pup to some gorgeous waterfalls near Asheville and then made it back to civilization in for our dinner reservation at Curate, a slammin’ new tapas place in downtown. The food was amazing and the moonshine/ginger ale cocktail, well let’s just say that might have been the nail in the coffin to my immune system, but it was worth it.

I spent my actual birthday curled up in bed reading, but then again, that sounds like a perfectly lovely way to spend a day anyway.

Thankfully the mystery illness seems to have passed. Perhaps there really is something to this oils thing. I was using liberal amounts of eucalyptus and lemon (they are the only two I know about) and seriously bounced back in about 3 days. Not bad Jim.

All that said, I don’t have any recipes for you or clever DIY projects, but I did want to check in and have a chat. So grab a nice glass of tea and spill. What has been on your mind this week?

We are doing a little container garden this year on our back deck. We’re doing pole beans, lots of basil, tomatoes, leeks, oregano, rosemary, and spinach. All my little seedlings, except the tomatoes, have now been transferred to their pots and they seem to be doing well. Our spinach was a disappointment as none of it really germinated, but I think I’m going to try again in a different container with better drainage. (I was trying the ole’ Pinterest favorite of using egg cartons. Fail.) Are you growing anything this year?

Do you use essential oils? Do you want to tell me all about them? I have been so curious about them since the Kiwi’s mom convinced me to switch up my Vick’s nose spray for eucalyptus oil with amazing results. I’m all about trying a more natural approach with health related matters, so I really want to love oils, but I’m so overwhelmed!

We finally finished our fireplace project just before Easter. I thought I was incredibly clever to come up with such a cool way to use an old mantle that I salvaged from on old house in my hometown, then of course Pinterest exploded with numerous examples of similar projects. Sing it with me, it’s all been done before. Oh well. I’m still going to share it…eventually.

Apparently I’ve been living under a rock for the past two years in terms of advancements in processed foods. Did you know they make watermelon Oreos now? And apparently instead of lemonade packets they have these little drops now? I can’t say that both of those things don’t make me completely skeptical of their ingredient lists, but what will they think of next?!

I just finished re-reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I forgot how much that book made me think. It also inspired me to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird which I haven’t read in about 10 years. True story, when I was little I used to think it was Tequila Mockingbird, which obviously made me want to read it more. I was a little disappointed when I realized the truth. What are you reading? I’m always looking for a good read.

My friend Shannon, who is also from Georgia, who also lived in Bavaria, and who is also transitioning back to the States right now has been hitting the proverbial nail on the proverbial head recently. She has been much more eloquent than I think I ever could be about transition and uprooting and starting over. In case I haven’t said it before, thanks for making me feel like I’m not in this alone.

That’s all I have my friends. Now it’s your turn! Spill it.