Lavendar Granola Ingredients

Recipe: Lavender Cashew Granola

Cold days are for baking up warm granola. The smell of cinnamon and toasted oats just wraps your heart in a hug, no matter what the thermostat says. In honor of February & Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make a granola that was both heartwarming and had that special heart-day touch – flowers. I haven’t done a lot of cooking with flowers, but this lavender granola was so simple, my confidence has begun to unfurl. And after eating the delicious results, I certainly feel ready to take on new floral-culinary adventures.

Making Granola

A few tips, courtesy of Healthy Nibbles & Bits, where I found the original recipe:

  • Check on the granola as it bakes, and scoop out any that starts to get too brown (usually on the sides). Over-toasted oats are not so tasty.
  • Flower shop lavender is not the same as culinary lavender. You never know what kinds of chemicals might be sprayed on the sprigs you get from a florist. I found my culinary lavender buds in the spice section at my local Whole Foods.
  • If you like granola clusters (and I do!), stir in a whisked egg white. If you don’t, omit it.

Blueberry Lavendar Yogurt

To turn this crunchy treat into a complete Valentine snack, I used the granola as the star ingredient in a layered parfait. My little lady is partial to blueberries, so I chose those and blackberries for the fruit. Blueberry Greek yogurt rounds out the components for my parfait assembly.

I loved how the subtle taste of lavender played nicely with the boldness of the blueberries. It created a lovely palette, too. And since it’s all fairly healthy, seconds are easy to say yes to. Just like a Valentine’s Day hug.


Lavender Cashew Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • ⅔ cup unsalted cashews
  • ⅔ cup walnut halves
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup (honey works also; add a bit more if you like a sweeter granola)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t dried lavender
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg white

Parfait ingredients

  • 1 and ⅓ cup blueberry Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp dried lavender
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½  cup blackberries

Directions for granola

    • Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat to prevent burning.
    • In a large bowl, mix all the granola ingredients together except for the egg white.
    • In another bowl, whisk egg white with whisk or electric mixer + whisk attachment until egg white becomes become frothy. Pour the egg white on top of the granola and stir gently.
    • Spread out the granola on top of the baking sheet.
    • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the granola is browned, rotating once. Let the granola cool completely before breaking into clusters.

Directions for parfait

    • While the granola is baking, mix the Greek yogurt with ½ teaspoon of lavender. Refrigerate the yogurt for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the lavender flavor to set in.
    • To make the parfait, alternate layers of yogurt, granola, and fruit.
    • Store leftover granola in an airtight container in room temperature.
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Passion Portrait: The Sweetest Sound

“Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the only one that makes the sweetest sound.”

– Simon Sinek

My dear friend and sister-in-law Adrienne listened to her heart and began drumming when she was 17, had a bit of a pause in early adulthood, and in the last six months, has found her way back to it. She started playing because she was naturally drawn to the drums and impressed by players like Stuart Copeland of the Police.

But what does she appreciate most about it? “I like the meditative state I’m transported to while drumming. I enjoy the physical challenge, and I love playing with other musicians.

Plus, playing the drums is about the only thing I can think of where it’s socially acceptable to hit inanimate objects repeatedly,” she says, jokingly. If that’s not a transportative experience, I’m not sure what is!

Passionately devoted, Adrienne now drums daily. This is her portrait.

Drum Portrait 2

Cider & Black celebrates all times around the table – nourishment, fellowship, creation and play. The table is more than a dinner locale; it is the prime workspace for our jobs and our passions. The Passion Portrait series is an examination of the objects and tools on our tables that bring those passions to life. These are the activities that drive us, teach us and help us grow, wholeheartedly.

Drum parts

Passions start as a piece of a rhythm in your heart. You make them whole by taking action to follow the beat. How appropriate then, to open my photo post series Passion Portrait with the strike of a drum. Thank you, Adrienne!

 

Canvas valentine bag

Valentine Treat Bags

I’ve always been a crafter. From papier-mâché projects in Elementary School (that I took way too seriously), all the way to jewelry-making as an adult. But recently I’ve enjoyed the connection crafting can have to the season we’re in. It can help you be more present. And crafting with kids can teach them that same stillness, while instilling them with pride in accomplishment.

For February, I decided to celebrate the season by adding a new touch to an old favorite – Valentine’s Day cards. I wanted a cute way to package the candy and cards that my daughter will hand out in class – and I wanted it to be simple enough that she could get in on the act. I settled on mini cotton bags as the candy+card vessel, after looking through a lot of inspiration. The Valentine dressing is simple – an intricate heart stamp and ink pad color of your choice.

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I did a few samples first, and then let my daughter take over. We worked on the floor with craft paper over our hardwood to protect it. I think being lower to the ground gave her better leverage to stamp.

 

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It’s such a forgiving craft, too. With the natural fabric of the pouches, a little smudge or lightness here and there just adds to the look. But the best part? My little lady is thrilled to give her classmates a sweet keepsake that she helped create.

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The finished product – ready to be filled with goodies!

Materials:

  • 15-20 pouches (or however many you need for your class)
  • 1 stamp pad in red, or desired color
  • 1 heart stamp

Directions:

  • Flatten pouches. If too wrinkly, you may want to iron them briefly before stamping
  • Stamp each pouch with heart stamp
  • Fill with cards and goodies and gift away!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Strongbow cider table

Cider & Black: A photographic toast to times around the table

Raise a glass! After all, the title Cider & Black is inspired by the drink of the same name. A modest, agrarian drink made with simple ingredients, but not necessarily made simply. It took some time to develop to the right state. It’s a drink that yields a balanced flavor with just a splash of tart-like whimsy, held high to share with friends old and new.

Cider & Black the blog is about celebrations around the table. It’s about being present in the moment, being inspired by the colors and complexities we encounter, and being grateful for people to share it with. With the table as the centerpiece, the celebration never ends.

I was first inspired to start this journey last summer, when I signed up for my first CSA in middle Tennessee. The variety of the weekly bounty I received was invigorating. The sheer quantity taught me how to put vegetables (and by extension, healthy foods) first, and also ensured I always had enough to share. The quirky kohlrabis and joi chois, among other characters, broadened the palate of my Hoosier upbringing. Farm-eating changed my relationship with food. It changed how and what I cooked for myself and my family, and even how I experienced the passing of the seasons.

Time seemed to slow, and I found myself reaching for my camera more and more to document the state of my table. States of solitude, contemplation, creation, fellowship, work and joy.

Orange food pattern

Oranges patterned with parsley, leaves and wild berries from our backyard.

On this blog I’ll work to translate those states into visual stories from the table. Be they stories of color, texture, seasons, recipes, or even travels. Which brings me back to the name Cider & Black.

There’s another, more personal meaning in this blog’s title. Kir Breton is something I first encountered while living in Rennes, France during college. The traditional drink in the Bretagne region is cider, so Cider & Black, or cidre noir, was never in short supply. And France is where my journey with photography really began. So in a way, Cider & Black and photography will always be inextricably linked for me.

white tea rennes

White oolong tea and momentos from my time in France.

I’ve changed since then, and now call Nashville home with my husband and sweet daughter. But my passion for local tastes and photography has only grown. I’m always open to creative opportunities, flavor pairings, or info about the newest tastes in TN (or France or anywhere else you’d recommend getting my passport stamped!) I’d love to hear from you. So welcome to Cider & Black, and cheers!

Kale Guacamole Bowl

Recipe: Super Bowl Kale Guacamole

I adore guacamole. And what’s not to love, really? It’s salty, sour, is equally amazing on a corn chip or a carrot stick. And let’s face it, it’s a staple of game-watching gatherings these days. So what better way to bid another football season farewell than by raising a green-dipped chip high in cheers?

 

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In honor of the Super Bowl, I wanted to find a “super food” (in quotes because that’s not a real thing) to complement the game…and maybe make me feel not-so-guilty about the eating sins of Super Bowls past. So when I found this kale guacamole recipe, I knew I had scored (yes, I’m making a cheesy sports reference).

Avocados are one of those culinary sneaks that can envelop other tastes, or taste like not much at all, depending on what other flavors are in play. I made some minor modifications to the original recipe, and found that I really couldn’t taste the kale at all, what with all the garlic going on. Truly this was a simple, nutritious, crowd-pleasing version of the dip we’ve come to love. Score indeed!

Game Day Kale Guacamole


Easy Kale Guacamole

Main Ingredients

  • 4-5 kale leaves, separated from stems
  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • 1 lime, juiced

Directions

    • Boil (or steam) kale for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking.
    • Combine onions, garlic, and kale in food processor until smooth.
    • Add remaining ingredients and continue to process until desired thickness.
    • Salt, lime and more cayenne to taste.
    • Serve with salted tortilla chips. Yellow corn is especially nice with this recipe.
Persimmon Sea Green

Food Palette: Winter Persimmons

I’ve always been fascinated by this illusion: place one color next to another, and watch it take on new meaning and intensity. Color inspiration can come from anywhere – textiles, everyday objects, nature, and of course, food. For my post series Food Palettes, I explore how the color of food can be both appetizing and creatively stimulating.

This week I spied some particularly lovely persimmons at my local grocery. Such a beautiful and underrated fruit! There’s an almost velvety texture to their tight skin that’s very regal and old-world. When I look at them I can imagine dining with nobility in centuries of yore!

PersimmonCloseUP

Today’s palette takes inspiration from the proud persimmon and the subdued light of winter.

Persimmon Seagreen Palette