The Pie Project

For Valentines Day the Kiwi gave me a cookbook. What can I say? The boy gets me.

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book has been sitting in my amazon cart since it came out, but something kept stopping me. I’m picky when it comes to investing in cookbooks. There are millions and millions of recipes out there for free, so if I’m going to buy a cookbook, I expect a lot. I expect it to be something I will actually use. I expect recipes that are going to become staples. I expect to turn to it regularly for inspiration. I also expect more than just recipes. I want gorgeous inspiring pictures and thorough explanations of perfecting a technique. And while I thought this book would meet those expectations, it seemed too niche, too one use, and honestly, too much work.

I’m glad that boy knows my heart so well.

Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie from Kiwi and Peach

I have been talking about pie for a while now. I have stumbled my way into making some pretty edible pies in the past, but I wanted to learn how to get that perfect flaky crust every time. I wanted to know how to prepare the perfect filling and how to make beautiful latticed tops. I wanted to know the secrets to perfect pie making.

He wasn’t just giving me a cookbook; he was giving us a project. He was giving me his time and assistance to perfect a skill I’ve been wanting to learn.

Blushing Apple Pie from Kiwi and Peach

Folks across the States tend to celebrate today, 3.14, as Pi Day. Is it because we just really love non-repeating magical numbers? Maybe, but I bet it’s more because we get to eat pie. In case you’re at a loss for how to celebrate, head over to your local bookshop or you know, Amazon, and pick up a copy of the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. Written by the Elsen sisters who run a pie shop in Brooklyn by the same name, the book walks you through their pie making process. The pies are seasonal and their focus is on using quality ingredients that are available locally. It’s a mark of a well written recipe that novices like us could make a perfect pie the first time. The explanations are straight-forward and easy to follow. They are also incredibly creative flavor pairing geniuses, so there’s that. You certainly won’t get bored with these flavors! Our first attempt was the Blushing Apple (which had a bit of beetroot in it) and it turned out better than either of us could imagine. Next came the Malted Chocolate Pecan which was a bit trickier with the pre-baking and all, but the end result was a home-run. During the ‘heat wave’ strawberries started turning up everywhere, so we snatched them up and made the Strawberry Balsamic before the weather turned again. This weekend we’ll be making the Salt Pork Apple Pie and seeing how many digits of pi we can recite. Cheers!

How are you celebrating Pi(e) Day? Have you checked this book out yet? Which one would you make?

Strawberry Balsamic Pie from Kiwi and Peach

{This post contains Amazon affiliate links. That means that if you head over to Amazon from those links and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.} 

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What We Won’t Eat

A few weeks ago my best friend made a comment about the blog to the effect of there must be so much that we don’t eat. Clearly this means I’ve done a poor job of explaining our food philosophy even to the folks we love and interact with regularly because nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve posted recipe after recipe on here and talked about eliminating processed foods, but I haven’t talked specifically about how we approach food, our food philosophy.

I used to think I knew a lot about nutrition as a science—after all, I did take multiple courses on it at university and then taught it to middle schoolers. But the more I read and the deeper I get, here’s what I’ve learned… no one knows anything for certain. Those who are most convinced otherwise have, historically, produced the worst advice. There are a ton of grand overarching (and overreaching) theories out there—some better than others. The science exists to factually demonstrate that certain foods are high in certain nutrients and from there people get into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, and quickly on to my least favorite thing in the world: restrictions.

We do not restrict nutrient groups. We do not restrict food—real food—of any sort. In fact, Michael Pollan sums it up pretty well in this video:

“Eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.”

We eat meals made by human hands with real, whole ingredients.

The real, whole ingredients thing is key. We eat ethically raised meat, eggs, and dairy. We prefer to eat organic, non-GMO grains, fruits and vegetables. We buy it in the freshest, most ethical form we can get it and use it to make the food we eat.

Why? The more I read and deeper I get, I’ve also learned that there is an incredible amount of politics at play in the food choices we make. The Kiwi and I both care deeply and get a little fired up about those politics. We vote with our dollar to support the farmers that raise and grow our food, not the corporations that turn food into chemistry projects. We vote for food where as much as possible of the real cost of producing it is priced in, rather than externalized and pushed onto society as a whole in the form of massive environmental damage and widespread antibiotic resistance and huge government subsidies for unsustainable practices. That is what makes sense to us.

We believe that the lives the animals we eat have led will effect our health, so we eat meat from animals that led normal, antibiotic-free lives eating the diets they are adapted to eat. Anecdotally, prior to my foods classes at university I never knew there was anything other than grass-fed beef. I grew up on a farm in Georgia that raised beef cows. All they ever ate was grass. Biologically, any animal with a rumen is made to eat grass. Just because they can eat corn for a short period of time before becoming deathly ill doesn’t mean they should. In New Zealand or, for that matter, Germany and many other parts of the world, grain-fed beef is virtually unheard-of. All the beef is grass-fed and there is no need to distinguish or pay a premium for it.

We believe that the food we eat should not be far removed from nature because that is where it’s at its nutritional peak. We eat seasonally so that we can have fresh ingredients, and so that rather than pass the time in relentless monotony we mark the passage of our journey to a cadence older than the hills in which we make our home.

We’re not here to stand in judgement of anybody who doesn’t eat the way we do. It does take time and work to eat like this, and it often involves swimming against the tide of a market that has been distorted to give perverse pricing signals. The reason I write this blog is to provide you with tools to choose how you want to eat. I’m not going to preach at you if you rely on convenience foods, but if you feel like you have no choice but to rely on them then we are here to help.

Marion Nestle from Food Politics recently reported on Brazil’s proposed new dietary guidelines, and we think they are spot on:

  1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
  2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
  3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products
  4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
  5. Eat in company whenever possible.
  6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
  7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
  8. Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.
  9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.
  10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.

We don’t avoid meat. We don’t avoid carbs. We don’t avoid wheat. We don’t avoid fat. We don’t avoid bread, or bacon, or bananas, or beer, or butter, or beef. So what won’t we eat? Anything that isn’t food. We eat hardly any of what Pollan calls ‘edible food-like substances’, despite their prevalence in the modern diet. And although we really are against those non-foods in principle, that probably isn’t the main reason we consume so little. The truth is that with all that variety of delicious, delicious food in our diet, we just don’t miss them at all.

Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie from Kiwi and PeachWe ate this Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie without a second thought, because we made it from scratch
with the help of the excellent Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

My D’daddy

Tomorrow I was planning on announcing a new service we are going to start offering here on Kiwi and Peach— The Meal Plan. We were going to share a sneak peak of a weekly meal plan and grocery list that would take all the guess work out of dinner time. I was also going to talk about our food philosophy and talk about why we eat {and suggest} what we do.

But I’m not going to. I will eventually, but it will not be tomorrow.

We try to focus on the positive here. We try not to let life’s ups and downs affect our tone and material, but sometimes real life just can’t be glossed over.
Things might be silent around here for a week or so, and I feel like you should know why.

My D'Daddy from Kiwi and Peach

This morning my granddad, my D’Daddy, passed away.

He was 87 and, while his health had deteriorated considerably and he had not been himself in quite some time, the end was quite sudden but thankfully, quite peaceful.

Diane Ackerman is quoted as saying, “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to live the width of it as well.”

From living in Japan for four years to running a farm, starting a business, helping to found a hospital and a bank,  being married for nearly 65 years, and raising two strong, beautiful daughters, he certainly did that.

To me he is my cocky, incredibly self-assured D’daddy who bought me a horse first and then taught me to ride.

He was always a man who knew things. {Except how to work a microwave, he never did learn how to do that.}

He taught me the importance of building relationships—it is, after all, all about who you know.

He’s the one who taught me that a big watermelon shared with family and a seed spitting contest is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day in Georgia.

My D'Daddy from Kiwi and Peach

My D'Daddy from Kiwi and Peach

My D'Daddy from Kiwi and Peach

My D'Daddy from Kiwi and Peach

My D'Daddy from Kiwi and Peach

When he was living in Okinawa just after WWII ended, he managed a hotel where the military officers went for R&R. When it came time for him to leave, the head housekeeper, Mama San he called her, who according to him had to be at least 100, gave him a precious gift—two pearls that had been in her family for years. Precious and some might say prophetic. He came back to the States, married my Memommy, and they had two little girls, my aunt and my mama.

When I was 21, the pearl, which had been set in a ring, was handed down to me. I know I am incredibly lucky to have had this man in my life for as long as I did.  Everyday when I see it, I’m reminded of all he taught me; the importance of family, the importance of having confidence on myself and my abilities, and most importantly, how to spit a watermelon seed.

I love you, D’daddy.

Please keep us in your thoughts tomorrow as we try to navigate our way back to Georgia and through the mess that is Atlanta so that we can be with family.

Friday Food News

Sweet friends! We’ve made it through the week! How are you celebrating?

We are taking advantage of the long weekend and heading up to DC to spend time with some friends from Munich. One of those friends has joined the Peace Corps and is leaving in couple weeks to go to Azerbaijan for two years. Have I mentioned that she rocks? We are so grateful for the opportunity to see her before she heads off.

If you’re taking it easy this weekend and in the mood for reading, here are some things I’ve seen around the web lately. Have a good weekend!

Food News from Kiwi and PeachDooley ‘helping’ me shoot the Sweet Potato Bisque.

You might want to grab a cup a tea and take some time with this one. A critique of Perlmutter’s Grain Brain hypothesis:
“When a person advocates radical change on the order of eliminating one of the three macronutrient groups from our diets, the burden of proof should be enormous.” {james hamblin for the atlantic}

Have you been to an Aldi? A funny read about the German grocery experience. Now, if only they imported the beer too. {slate}

Our goal for the new year is to incorporate fish into our weekly meal plans, but I’m a fish novice. These killer recipes look doable and delicious. {the kitchn}

Michael Pollan and some other good folks are doing a fascinating lecture series. You can watch the lectures online, but you do have to reserve a spot. {edible schoolyard}

The Kiwi deems the microwave a must, so it’s interesting to see how this family is making do without. {the kitchn}

I’m on the hunt for a functional and affordable kitchen cart. I’m loving what Kristen did with this plain-Jane Ikea cart. {the hunted interior}

Now that I can get my hands on some kale, I can’t wait to try this recipe. I also second her feelings on the kale fad. It’s a dark leafy green. It’s incredibly good for you. There are worse fads. {a house in the hills}

Great advice for what to look for in a recipe to know if it’s a good one—because no one has time for duds. {dinner a love story}

Lemon bars are my favorite. {joy the baker}

This lettering. That hunker down banner. I die. {mary kate mcdevitt}

Speaking of lettering…have you checked out our new PRINT page yet? We now have free printables of some of my hand lettered art prints! There is nothing like instant art to freshen up your home, am I right? So head over and start downloading. {If you do, shoot me a tweet or instagram of what you did with it. I’d love to see it in action!}

Grow.

Hello. Is this thing on?

I hope you all had a fantastic break for the holidays—full of  good food and quality time with the folks you love. I know that we sure did. Just after the Christmas festivities were winding down, we packed up the U-Haul and made the move to Asheville. We’re just about settled in to the new home and are having so much fun exploring Asheville and getting to know our new town.

2013 was the year of travel, rolling with the punches, and figuring things out. 2014 is going to be the year of putting down roots and growing, blooming. {While still rolling with the punches because, let’s be real, there will always be some punches.}

As the mess from the move settles down, I’m looking forward to getting back in the blogging swing for the new year. This is going to be a big year of growth for Kiwi+Peach and we are pretty pumped about the things we have planned for the year. Sharing tried and true recipes and talking about food will always be our main focus, but we’re branching out a bit. We are going to dive a little deeper into the science behind the food we eat, and we will be sharing our monthly meal planning calendar. I’ll be doing more calligraphy and dabbling in a bit of graphic design to share my original artwork with y’all. We are also going to be sharing some of the things we’ve done/are doing to create a home that is beautiful, efficient, and eco-friendly.

My goal, the whole reason I write, is to share experiences. I always want to be producing something of value for you, so I strive for the tips, tricks, inspiration, and knowledge we share about how we do life to be stuff that you could actually use. Hearing about your experiences makes my freaking day y’all. I want to start a conversation, to connect. I want to hear about your experiences your thoughts, feelings, smart remarks. That way, we grow together.

I recently saw a thing circulating round the web about picking one word for the year. It’s not so much a resolution as just an encompassing word to strive for and meditate on for the coming year that will help you focus {or re-focus} and reach your goals. So much better than a list of resolutions, I thought, so I bit.

My word for the year is…

Grow: Lettering by Kiwi and Peach

We’ve planted ourselves here, so now its time to grow.

It’s time to grow; personally, professionally, in our relationships, this blog, and quite literally, a garden.

Growth doesn’t happen on its own. It takes intentional, focused effort. It takes trying new things, even if they’re scary. It takes risk and putting ourselves out there, even if it means being a little vulnerable. It takes research and constant learning to develop new skills, even if it takes a little trial and error. It takes a lot of hard work, but it will be so worth it.

What about you? What’s your word for the year? Don’t have a word? Then what is that you are striving for this year? How can we help each other keep our eye on the prize?

Fan of the ‘Grow’ image?

First of all, thank you! I made it m’self, hand lettering and all. Second of all, you’re in luck because it is available for free on our brand spanking new PRINT page, or you can click here to open the printable {and downloadable} pdf. Print it out, pop it in a simple frame, and you have a piece of inspirational artwork for your home that reminds you to keep growing.

Kiwi+Peach on The Green Life

Hey guys. We are still on our mini-holiday break while we get everything thing sorted and settled with the big move, but I couldn’t resist popping in today and sharing some awesome-sauce news.

If you head over to The Sierra Club’s blog The Green Life, you’re going to see a recipe for Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili from yours truly featured on their article 3 Hot Soups for National Soup Month. The other two look d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s as well! So head on over, give them some love, make a big pot of that chili, and STAY WARM!

I’ll be getting back into the swing of things on here next Monday. In the meantime though, I’m going to go build a cart for my kitchen. Cheers.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili from Kiwi and Peach

Auf Wiedersehen 2013

Man, what a year it’s been?! As we struggled to stay awake to ring in 2013 in a little cottage in Wanaka, New Zealand, we had no idea just what was in store for us this year.

{wanderlust: mt. aspiring national park, new zealand} from kiwi and peach

This blog that was only a little twinkle in my eye, it would become my full time job.

The year and a half we thought we had left in Munich, it would become just nine months.

Those places on Must-See-Before-We-Leave-Europe list. Well, they were going to have to be seen, weren’t they?

{wanderlust: istanbul, turkey} from kiwi and peach

{wanderlust: dubrovnik, croatia} from kiwi and peach

{wanderlust: berlin, germany} from kiwi and peach

{wanderlust: budapest, hungary} from kiwi and peach

{wanderlust: florence, italy} from kiwi and peach

Kiwi and Peach {wanderlust: sahara desert}

Kiwi and Peach {wanderlust: Paris}

{wanderlust: hong kong} from kiwi and peach

5 continents,

12 countries,

and one transatlantic move later…

We will be welcoming 2014 in our new town—the town where we plan to settle down and be a while.

This year, we put down roots.

Kiwi and Peach | Meet Dooley

Will 2014 be an easier year than 2013? Probably not.

Growth {individually, as a family, and professionally}, consistent learning and navigating new experiences are rarely easy but as we’ve found, almost always worth the trouble.

So here’s to a year of finding joy in hard work, of dreaming big and accomplishing goals.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art—write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” -Neil Gaiman