{JAM} Mumford and Sons: The Cave

Happy Monday y’all! As we speak, I am making my way from Georgia with my mom and my 86 year old grandmother to the west coast of Ireland. Surprise!

After D’daddy’s passing earlier this year, Memommy (who knows where I came up with these names) boldly stated that she wanted to go to Ireland. She had applied for a passport while I was living in Germany, but was unable to come visit since she was consumed with D’daddy’s care as she had been for 10 years. While D’daddy’s passing was devastating, we look at things like this and are encouraged that she is starting to truly live life again. Obviously, my mom and I wanted to make this happen for her.

I am blown away by her adventuring spirit. To want to venture out of the country for the first time at 86 years old and desire to experience another culture…I hope I’m still half as spunky at 86.

We’ll be adventuring in the Irish countryside all week checking out the Cliffs of Moher, the Blarney Stone, the Dingle Peninsula, and the Ring of Kerry, so be sure you’re following us on Instagram to see more pretty than you can even handle. Of course, you could always just listen to Mumford and Sons and pretend you’re there with us.

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Summer Simplified is Here + Caramelized Peach Salad

Hello there my friends. Thank you so much for all your sweet comments on our engagement! We are so excited to start this wedding planning adventure. I have a feeling there will be lots of DIY projects in our future!

If the blog was a bit silent last week after our announcement, it wasn’t because we were sitting around reveling in engaged bliss. No, we were working our tails off editing and making last minute changes to our brand spanking new meal planning service, The Seasonal Supper. In addition to the 20 recipes for your week-night suppers, we were also able to included 10+ supplemental recipes for things like homemade salad dressing, quick barbecue sauce, and spice mixes that will take your dinner from ordinary to out-of-this-world flavorful. All the i’s have been dotted, the t’s crossed, and our summer collection, Summer Simplified ready for you start using today! Let us start doing the planning for you and take the guess work out of dinnertime. 

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If you want to see what one week of the Seasonal Supper is like, you can download our Think Spring sneak peek. But remember, Summer Simplified has FOUR weeks worth of recipes and planning tools, not just one! To give y’all a little taste of what we’ve cooked up for the summer, I wanted to share a new recipe that is in the collection. Inspired by my favorite salad at California Pizza Kitchen, this has quickly become one of our favorite meals. Peaches, bourbon, blue cheese—summer time doesn’t get much better.

California Pizza Kitchen Caramelized Peach Salad from Kiwi and Peach

Caramelized Peach Salad

{serves 2}

2 peaches
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
1 bag of spinach leaves
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinaigrette
1 Tbsp honey
dash of salt and pepper

Start by heating up a deep sauté pan or cast iron skillet on medium heat. While it’s heating up, slice your peach into long, 1/2 inch thick slices. When it’s hot, melt your butter in the pan and add the peaches. Give them 3 minutes on each side then toss in the pecans, cranberries, maple syrup and salt. Give it all a stir then, if you’d like, deglaze the pan with the bourbon and remove from the heat.

In a large bowl toss your spinach and dressing so that the leaves are coated. Add the blue cheese and the caramelized peach mix from the pan and keep tossing until it’s all mixed in.

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

 

 

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!