Tag Archives: freezing

spilled nasturtium ice cubes

edible flower ice-cubes + taking stock | 01

I’m just going to waltz along and perpetuate the “I’m in need of some summer cheer!” trend I’ve been setting in this space!  First it was muddled lime caipirinhas, today it is nasturtium ice-cubes, and tomorrow I’ll be starting some marmalade to can over the weekend. These ice-cubes kind of count for a winter treat. They are frozen, after all, right?

Like everyone else, I have spent this week poring over citrus-centric recipes, preserves, cocktails, and colors. I’m also fixated on wintry, citrus-y salads. And my baking addiction has been out of control, and I need to tone down the amount of brownies, crumbles, and cookies that have been occupying my counter top. It doesn’t help that my boyfriend is an excellent baker and gifts me tasty treats from time to time, most recently, a pear-shortbread streusel.

It’s been an up-and-down week here in Denver, as far as weather is concerned. I think it’s almost always the case here. As I walked in from work last night, snow was gently falling, leaving about three inches of sparkling white in our yard. The crazy thing is that I’ll most likely be donning my flops over the weekend.

Fine by me!

I didn’t actually make these edible flower ice cubes recently. In fact, I made them back in late October, when I was still harvesting vegetables and herbs from the garden. I came across a bag of them in the freezer this past week and was reminded how fun and easy it was to make these eye-catching drink decorations. I toss them into green tea, sparkling water, and cocktails. They turn a drab g+t into a work of art.

nasturtiums


edible flower ice-cubes


  • ice-cube tray of your choice
  • distilled water
  • a handful of edible flowers, herbs, or fruit

I had never made edible flower ice-cubes, so I kind of winged it my first attempt. I like to call the way I made my cubes the “abstract and loose” method. It doesn’t require much thought or freezing time. Simply take washed, pesticide-free, edible flowers {here’s a great list of different flowers to consider} and place them in an ice-cube tray. Press them down, as much as you can.

Next, cover with purified water. Press down any petals that want to pop up. If you’d rather not see any air bubbles in the ice-cubes and want a perfectly clear rendition, use distilled water. I was a little lazy and forewent distilling my water. I actually like the pops of white and bubbly lines that resulted. Freeze. Wait. Et voilà!

nasturtiums

Since making these, I found that there are serious techniques for making the most symmetrical and clear ice-cube, graced with a perfectly centered, suspended flower in the center. I call this the “perfectionist” method. It yields a beautiful result, but it takes a little more time and patience. I didn’t have those traits the day I made mine. Do I ever have those traits??

No extra ingredients are needed, but placement and timing are key. This post on Gardenista lays it out well. Simply fill an ice-cube tray 1/3 full with water. Freeze. Next, place a flower on the frozen surface and add more water, until the tray is 2/3 full. Freeze. Finally, add the final layer of water and fill to the top. Freeze. This method yields exactly the scenario I described in the previous paragraph. I’ll have to do this next time because their suspended rose ice-cubes are absolutely beautiful.

nasturtiumsnasturtiumsBe creative with your ice-cube additives and use organic herbs, like mint, and toss into mojitos, tea, or lemonade. I’ve also made ice-cubes with fresh or frozen fruit . As the cubes melt, the fruit adds flavor and provides a frozen treat to enjoy, as the drink warms up. Makes me want to take my time sipping.

Need some more inspiration?

nasturtiumsWhat versions of ice-cubes have you made? I know I want to bring back that retro punch ring. Are you also planning any citrus-inspired recipes or have a link to share? I’ll definitely attempt a few recipes this weekend, specifically, some marmalade riffs. I am closing with a piece inspired by one of my favorite bloggers and fellow Floridian, Keira Lennox. She is a florist with an inspiring Instagram account and routinely posts at A Pretty Penny. Every once in a while, she writes a “Taking Stock” post. A kind of “checking in” of sorts, where she describes what’s going on in her life.

I plan on checking in and “Taking Stock” in the middle of each month, so feel free to play along. Happy weekending!


taking stock | 01


Making  |  good use of my library card for new music and audiobooks!
Cooking  |  actually re-heating canned and frozen soups from the summer, serving alongside this bread.
Drinking Ruby Trust Cellars’ Gunslinger, Syrah blend. Yes, Colorado makes good wine!
Reading  |  Charlie Trotter’s Lessons in Wine Service, Winter Cocktails, by María Del Mar Sacasa, and, of course, the Botanical Interests’ seed catalog.
Wanting  |  to start waking up on time and a little earlier. I’m striving for 8:00.
Looking  |  unabashedly forward to the return of Merlot.
Playing  |  lots of scales and chord progressions on the piano. #newyearsresolutions
Wasting  |  my time, worrying what people will think. Stop. This. Now.
Drawing  |  triangles in my sketchbook and calligraphy each evening.
Wishing  |  to feel well-rested.
Enjoying  |  all the possibilities of the citrus season. I am beyond excited to make marmalade and syrups with all of the oranges and lemons.
Waiting  |  for Guffman. Sorry! That’s what first came to mind {…but I covet that ‘stache!}. Seriously, waiting to hear some news. I am hoping that it’s of the good variety!
Liking  |  the way my foam roller makes me enjoy the pain in my IT bands.
Wondering  |  what my cats are thinking.
Loving  |  how seriously my boyfriend takes his beer and beer pairings.
Hoping  |  I can get finally get to the point, where I treat myself how I treat my best friend.
Marveling  |  at my ability to devour 81 square inches of brownies in less than 36 hours. My sister can vouch. She made a batch with me, via phone and over the internets, in Florida.
Needing  |  another glass of wine. Even more so, to just go to bed.
Smelling  |  all of the citrus I bought this week. I still need to do something with it and not just dream up recipes and stalk Pinterest friends.
Wearing  |  a red bandana, black Nike shorts, yellow flats with rosettes, and a turquoise LS athletic shirt, layered over a navy blue Nike tank. There’s a reason I’m not writing a fashion blog.
Following  |  Pen and Peplum’s #52handlettered prompts over the next 52 weeks.
Noticing  |  how I love my cats to a serious fault.
Pinning  |  lots of citrus drinks.
Thinking  |  I should take my Advanced Sommelier test and then re-thinking if it even matters or would even make a difference in my life.
Feeling  |  happy that my uncle has a clean bill of health at 87 and grateful that I have my aunt as a friend, resource, and secret-keeper.
Listening  |  to Ariana Grande’s “Love Me Harder”. I am secretly in love with some pop. Please, don’t judge. On a more serious note, I am listening to Jo Robinson’s audiobook, Eating on the Wild Side.
Learning  |  how to master Copperplate Calligraphy.
Giggling  |  with my boyfriend about how hilarious Captain Murphy was on Sealab 2021.
Feeling  |  tired from one glass of wine but excited to meet my friend, Aimee, for coffee and calligraphy-talk in the morning.

XO,

Jayme

PS – “Taking Stock” inspired by Keira, who was inspired by Sydney, who was inspired inspired by Pip.

nasturtiumsnasturtiums nasturtiums nasturtiums PicTapGo-Image tabby cat ash nasturtiums


Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self.

It’s about accepting all of yourself.”

– Tyra Banks


 

frozen kale power cubes

Why do I procrastinate, when I know that if I just applied a little elbow grease right now and set aside a little time at the present, I would be rewarded in the future? Rewarded with peace, bounty, satisfaction, and even extra time. Discussing the whys and hows of the roots of procrastination in my personal life is a completely different and challenging topic. I will save (er…postpone!) that conversation for another post. Plus, this is more exciting! One thing that I do have a handle on is purchasing and harvesting fruits and vegetables, when they are in season or on sale. This way, I can preserve the produce at its prime and use it later on, when it is unavailable, more expensive, or sourced from another country.

Almost a month ago, I spotted bundles of organic kale for just under two dollars. That’s a great price for organic kale, here in Colorado, in the middle of early spring. I immediately stock-piled about six bundles and set out to preserve them. I love using kale in green smoothies, and freezing pureed kale in ice cube trays couldn’t be easier or more efficient.

kale cube trays

You could make kale cubes simply by pureeing kale and water together. Kale, alone, is too fibrous for a blender to process, so adding a liquid component is a necessity. Instead of adding only water, I like to toss in several other components to “amp up” the nutritional factor; thus, the “kale power cube” is born:


frozen kale power cubes


  • 2-3 bundles of fresh, organic kale
  • 4 tablespoons tart cherry concentrate
  • fresh fruit or a bag of frozen fruit {mango, peach, and pineapple are favorites}
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • a liquid of your choice: filtered water, coconut water, or a juice
  1. Wash the kale. I use the entire plant (both stems and leaves).
  2. Tear into smaller pieces and place in the blender. I absolutely love my Vitamix because it blends so thoroughly; it leaves no particulates or fibrous pieces behind.
  3. Add the cherry concentrate, frozen fruit, and flax seed.
  4. Add your liquid component. I used coconut water (high in electrolytes) and 100% cranberry juice.
  5. Blend away! Add more liquid, as needed.
  6. Pour liquid into ice cube trays and freeze.
  7. Once frozen, label and seal in freezer bags.

Use this recipe as a guide and experiment with combinations of different vegetables and fruits. What are some other players that I frequently use? Blueberries, acai berries, spinach, pomegranate juice, protein powder, chia seeds, or spirulina. I try to use the most highly concentrated ingredients in the cubes, in combination with whatever fresh fruits and vegetables that I have on hand: carrots, bananas, apples, peaches, etc. I toss one or two of these kale power cubes into my daily smoothie. I get a boost of fiber from the organic greens, omega-3 fatty acids from the flax seeds, and anti-inflammatory properties from the tart cherry concentrate and fruit. All of this in a conveniently sized, little cube!

Some advice that I had to learn the hard way? Remember to empty the ice cube trays, once the kale has frozen! If you don’t have an automatic ice cube maker, like me, you will be sorely disappointed when you decide to make an iced tea or a refreshing cocktail, and you have no ice on hand, because all of your trays are filled with green matter!

kale cubes awaiting their destiny...

Signing off with some photos of recent happenings around the house and garden…cheers!

The flip-side of procrastination: don’t procrastinate or postpone the pleasures right in front of us, this very moment. This tattered fortune cookie slip has a permanent home at eye-level, on our refrigerator.

The first flower, a purple crocus, spotted this past March, in our front yard.

Dragon’s Blood waking up from its winter sleep.

The view from our back porch last week. What a mood-swinging spring! One day, we would be enjoying sunny, 50 degree afternoons, and the next day, we would be dealing with five inches of snow. So ready for the warm season…

perennial thyme emerging between the flagstones.

Perennial thyme, emerging through the flagstones on the garden path.

spinach + mushroom quiche | vegetable reincarnation

We made quiche for the first time this Christmas Day.  Surprisingly easy to make and quite versatile, quiches can be made with whatever you currently have in your kitchen or reflect what is seasonally available.

What a busy month December has been!  I think that a lot of us can say those exact words, accompanied by a deep sigh of relief, now that the month is closing to an end.  I have let the busyness of the season allow for excuses to not write or exercise or take care of myself, as well as I know I should.  A couple of nights ago, over a glass of wine, my boyfriend and I were discussing how we would celebrate Christmas this year.  Both of us had recently assumed new roles within our profession, and with the promotions, came more responsibility and demands upon our time.  The common thread within our conversation was the quest for peace, avoiding stress, and following our own timing for imposed holiday deadlines.

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zucchini cake | what a difference a day makes

So, I am going to be late for work already, but I wanted to post this, before I left.  If you grow zucchinis or other squashes, you know that if you neglect your plant for a day or two, you can be greeted with baseball bat-sized zucchinis!  These may look great, but their flavor and delicacy is noticeably different than their smaller-sized specimens.  What to do with them?  For you know, if you are busy, these green giants will surface in your garden.

Within about ten minutes, I have peeled two giant zucchinis, run them through the food processor, set some aside for some zucchini muffins, frozen some shredded zucchini for another day, and added some vegetable matter to the compost!

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how to preserve peaches in the freezer

The end of summer in Colorado is signaled by the arrival of peaches from the western slope.  These peaches from Pallisade, Colorado are among the sweetest around, in my opinion, only to be rivaled with those from Georgia.  This year, Pallisade peaches ripened about two weeks earlier than last year, due to our heat wave we have experienced this summer.  I don’t mind the earlier delivery date; I will take these sweet stone fruits any time of year!

Fresh peaches from Pallisade, Colorado, sliced, served with Greek yogurt, drizzled with honey, and tossed with toasted pecans.

I make sure that I am not only able to enjoy these peaches at their peak ripeness now, but I am also able to enjoy them during the winter months by simply canning them, making jam or preserves, and freezing them.  I had attempted freezing peaches, and I must have improperly frozen them because I experienced freezer burn.  With a little research, I decided to give freezing peaches another try.  I obtain so much useful information from pickyourown.org.  This site offers advice on preservation techniques, as well as recipes to utilize your preserved bounty.

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