Browsing Tag


The Blue Bush

July 12, 2013


I had so much fun reading Baker Bettie’s post on their new home that it inspired me to give you guys a little peak into our lives.

It’s been one year since I started the ‘post college’ stage of my life that I’m currently knee deep in. It’s been a year since I moved into The Blue Bush with Wyatt and our peanut butter loving dog, Tuko. The Blue Bush (as we like to call it since…well…the outside of the house is bright blue) is a cozy little Midwest home that was built in 1910. Yup, that’s what the records say…1910. So, as you can imagine, the place isn’t exactly in tip top shape. We’ve worked hard to transform it into a home that reflects us and it’s been fun to watch the process unfold. I’ve collected quite a few pictures of the last year so I was thinking this could be a good time to show you around.


This also means it’s been one year since we owned a microwave or a dishwasher. Can you guess which one we miss the most? What my nails wouldn’t do to have a rest from being drenched in soapy dish water for just ONE night.

As for the microwave… I always just forget they even exist these days. I still remember the look on Wyatt’s face when I first purposed not having a microwave in our new home…the look of bewilderment followed by complete disbelief. But he agreed and it’s been wonderful. I’ve learned SO many new things since having to go back to cooking ingredients the way they are supposed to be cooked (i.e. using a double boiler, boiling water over the stove top, etc). My favorite part about not having a microwave is that you always have to work for your food around here. Sure, if you REALLY want to just eat a frozen dinner of (veggie) nuggets then that’s fine…but you’ll have to bake them for 20 minutes in the oven which means you could just whip up some polenta / sautéed veggies in that same amount of time. It really has helped me to not take short cuts and prepare real food in the kitchen.

bluebush4 bluebush6 bluebush3 bluebush2 bluebush

We’ve filled the house with lots of vintage furniture…


…And vinyl records..


..And have filled our sunroom with house plants (which is a perfect little hideout full of green in the middle of winter)


This is the studio room…


<— Wyatt’s desk and (can you tell who is the clean one in this relationship? ahem, definitely not me…) and my desk —>

bluebush15  bluebush11

We spent a lot of our time in the backyard. I’ve managed to build two gardens…one with herbs and one with vegetables. The cucumbers and zucchini have been going crazy and it’s finally time for the tomatoes to start ripening (!!!).




Well, I just wanted to take the opportunity to show you around a little. It’s crazy it’s taken a whole year to get around to telling you about my obsession with house plants, my love for vinyl records, and show you a peak of our little cozy home. Thanks for reading!


For you…

February 14, 2013

I made you this vegetable / animal / flower / toast collage for Valentine’s day. Thanks for hanging around here. I really like that and I really like you.




Cue music:

VV Turns One! // Butterscotch Roll-Up Cake

August 17, 2012

Woah! That is correct- VV has officially been around for a whole year! Pretty weird, huh? It’s crazy how far we have come 200+ recipes later. Although my writing and photography skills have improved immensely, there is still so much room for improvement. That is totally exciting because it keeps things interesting and constantly makes me want to try harder.

Last year at this time I was still in school, applying for jobs in Portland and Austin, and trying to avoid thinking about my future. I would not have guessed that a year later I would still be so dedicated to my blog, living with Wyatt and our puppy (I was Tuko-less a year ago…weird), and working full-time at Secretly Canadian. All in all this has been an eventful year and I am excited to see what else the future has in store for us.

I decided to ‘go big or go home’ for this recipe today. It is adapted from the cutest cake book ever to exist (Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson) and it is rather labor intensive. This cake was absolutely delicious and oh so gorgeous but please plan to dedicate a couple of hours to it! It’s a ‘special occasion’ cake that you probably don’t want to make too often.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and enjoy!

Butterscotch Roll-Up Cake

Butterscotch sauce:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 egg yokes (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

To make the butterscotch sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the sugar and stir until combined. Cook, stirring regularly, until the simmers and changes from a grainy texture to a thick caramel texture (this should take about five minutes). Next, whisk the mixture as you slowly add in the cream. Bring heat to medium high and let the mixture boil (whisk the mixture often). Let boil for about 5 minutes or until it becomes thick and dark. Remove from heat and let cool for ten minutes. Whisk in the vanilla, whiskey, and salt. Stick in the fridge to cool completely.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 12 by 16 inch pan with parchment paper and grease the paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 3/4 cup of the sugar and make a well in the center of the bowl by pushing the dry ingredients to the outside. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, yolks, water, and vanilla. Pour into the center of the well and fold dry ingredients into wet until smooth.

Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium until frothy. Next, add in the cream of tartar and slowly increase speed to high. Whip until soft peaks begin to form and slowly add in the last 1/4 cup sugar. Continue mixing until the peaks become shiny.

Use a spatula to fold the egg whites into the cake batter until just incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and use a spatula to even it out. Stick it in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

While it is cooking, make the frosting: Stick your mixer bowl in the freezer for a few minutes to chill it. Next, whip the cold heavy cream with 1 cup of the cooled butterscotch on medium-low speed. Slowly turn your mixer to high and whip until light and fluffy.

Assembly time: This is when it starts to get super fun! Place your sheet of cake horizontally in front of you. Cut the cake into 4 equal part. Next, take a scissor and cut the parchment paper directly along the cut lines you just made (this will make it easier to pick the cake up by the parchment paper and help with assembly).

Please excuse the hideous counter-top and bad lighting that my landlord thought was a good idea (just took a quick snapshot to try to show you the process).

Next, spread half of the frosting onto the sheet of cake and sprinkle with half the almonds. Take one sheet of the cake and spiral it on a plate (with the frosting side facing inward). Take another sheet and continue to spiral the cake out. Repeat with the rest of the cake (this is a bit tricky but try to keep it as tight as possible so the cake does not have room to fall over).

Lather the outside of the cake with rest of frosting and almonds. Drizzle any leftover butterschotch on top.

Serve warm to all your favorite people. And with a hot cup of coffee. Or Ice cream. Or both.

Vegan Chickpea Gravy

April 24, 2012

So I have this loooong list of things I’d like to do to make my eating lifestyle better (only eating organic, making homemade condiments, etc) but all these things take just a little bit of extra effort so I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate them into my kitchen habits.

Along those lines, I finally conquered cooking beans from scratch instead of using old canned bean. I’ve seen my roommate do this dozens of times but it always seemed so time consuming (soaking the beans over night and then cooking them on the stove top for houuurs). However, I found a super easy trick and the secret is using a crock pot! All you have to do is wash the beans, put them in the crock pot with a few extra inches of water, and let it cook while you are sleeping or at work! And then you can come home to yummy, fresh beans waiting to be eaten/cooked with.

And with these fresh cooked beans I made some yummy gravy to go on mashed potatoes. I don’t know what has been up with my gravy addiction lately but it’s bad…I guess at least I’m been making my gravies as healthy as possible, right?

Crockpot Chickpeas

  • 1 cup of dried chickpeas
  • water

Wash the chickpeas thoroughly. Place in your crockpot and cover with water. Make sure the water goes up about 2 to 3 inches past the beans.

Cook on low for six to seven hours.

Drain and enjoy the beans fresh or add to yummy recipes!

Vegan Chickpea Gravy

Adapted from Isa’s Vegan with a Vengence
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast

Start by heating up the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and mustard seed and saute for about ten minutes or until the onions start to brown.

While those cook, whisk together the 2 cups of water and flour and set aside.

Add in the minced garlic to the skillet and saute for another 30 seconds. Next, put in the chickpeas and use a masher to mash they into small pieces. Then mix in the spices, lime juice, and soy sauce. Turn the heat down to low and add in the flour mixture. Stir until a thick gravy forms. Sprinkle in the nutritional yeast and add a tiny bit more water if it’s still runny.

Whisk until it has reached a thick and desirable consistency.

Remove from heat and lather on mashed potatoes, egg sandwiches, vegetarian “meat”, or whatever you are feeling.

Pesto Parmesan Ravioli /// How to Handle A College Boy

April 15, 2012

This should really be “how to handle a college boy’s kitchen” but that doesn’t sound quite as exciting. I promise it’s harder than you might think…have you ever had to even walk through those filthy, dishes-piled in the sink, off smelling room that 20-something year old boys call a “kitchen”? Well, try cooking in it! I give my boyfriend credit…he is pretty clean but his 3 roommates are not which makes trying to prepare a dinner almost impossible.

After dating these types of boys for over 4 years now, I have a few tips for girlfriends, parents, etc trying to feed those incompetent boys in their lives.

1. Get Creative. I always have a small heart attack in the beginning when I am trying to compile things I will need for the meal and realize that Wyatt doesn’t own measuring cups, mixing bowls, or a microwave. But I realize if I just take a deep breath and relax than I can get rather creative with it. Use tupperware for mixing bowls, melt things over the stove top, use your best judgment for measurements, etc.

2. Keep it simple. The less ingredients used the less you’ll have to worry about them not having something. Spices seem like a standard for most but you’d be surprised. Also, always bring your own perishables… just because there is milk in the fridge does not mean it hasn’t been there since last summer.


3. Be prepared to share with his roommates. Not only will this score you extra brownie points but that other boys in the house probably haven’t had a home cooked meal in months either.



4. Ask them to clean before you arrive. When I made this ravioli, a huge grease fire started on the stove top because it had not been cleaned in months (Luckily, I made Wyatt put it out while I stood back and took pictures). Be aware of the lack of cleanliness and make sure they do something about it BEFORE you start cooking.


5. My last piece of advice is to bring beer. Even if they don’t enjoy your cooking, they will be satisfied enough with the beer to invite you back again.


Simple Pesto Parmesan Ravioli

  • 1 16 ounce package of ravioli
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt/Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook ravioli according to the instructions on the package.

Mix together the pesto,tomatoes, heavy cream, and half the parmesan. Fold into the cooked ravioli.

Pour into a square casserole dish and top with the rest of the parmesan. Cook for 20 minutes or until the top is browned.

Season with salt/pepper and serve with a baguette.

Shapilicious Eggs

February 8, 2012

Some days you just have to not take yourself seriously. You have to stay in bed. And do what inspires you. And play with your food. And refuse to shower. Come on, you can do it!

Today was one of those days for me. I woke up to my alarm at 8, got up to make coffee and find my puppy slippers, and crawled back into bed. Instead of spending my Tuesday morning working out and going to classes, I’ve spent the whole morning watching photo tutorial videos on and playing with my food. It’s a great feeling to take some time for myself and do things at my leisure.

While ‘taking time for myself’, I found these owl recipe cards as I was perusing my usual blog site favorites this morning (find them right here to be exact: My Owl Barn) and thought they were too cute not to play with. Plus, I’m a huge sucker for anything vintage and owl related. I just cannot help myself. And  by ‘I can’t help myself’ I mean that this then created an artistic snowball effect where I wanted to make something cute and simple so I could fit the recipe on this cards. And then my morning took off from there.

If you wanted to, you could do a themed breakfast with a heart cut out (for Valentine’s day…which is coming up. hint hint nudge nudge at my boyfriend) or a birthday cake cutout or Christmas themed or whatever you’ve got to work with (cook cutter wise). It’s cute and simple so why not be a little creative in the kitchen next time you have a few minutes to whip up some eggs and toast? Enjoy!


Homemade Beer Bread

January 16, 2012

Let me start off by warning you that I am currently enrolled in a photoshop class so I have been obsessed with photo editing lately and trying out new tricks. Also, I love everything vintage so this whole concept of making my food pictures vintage is blowing my mind and will probably be run into the ground. I guess what I am trying to say is be patient with me if you find all these “side note” photos obviously. Oh, and I am also saying that you should get excited because I am planning and am in the process of a major blog make over so stay tuned for lots of fun add ons! Oooooooh yeahh!

So, as I’ve mentioned loads of times before, we are obsessed with making homemade bread. I understand that women are suppose to crave chocolate but nah, give me a loaf of fresh and steaming bread instead! Hah, yeah. Anyways, so sometimes we crave bread but don’t feel like playing the 2 hour waiting game for it to rise and what not so that’s when we turn to our beer bread recipe. It’s seriously the simplest bread recipe to ever exist and no need for yeast or “resting time” or any of that jazz. Just let the beer do it’s natural yeast-fermenting-thing and pop it straight into the oven!

We like to use our beer bread for a nutritious and exotic dinner consisting of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Our favorite version beer bread + mustard + grilled onions + cheddar +swiss. Oh damn. But of course, you can sandwich this bread with loads of healthy toppings too like sprouts, lettuce, carrots, veganaise, cucumber, hummus, etc etc etc…I think you get the point.

Oh and one last point. You should use cheap beer. The flavor of the beer honestly does not affect the final project so use that crappy beer you’ve been avoiding in your fridge for months now.

Homemade Beer Bread

  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Grease a bread pan and preheat oven for 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Then make a well in the center of the bowl and pour the beer in the middle. Fold the dry ingredients into the beer until well incorporated.

Put the batter in the greased bread tin and top with melted butter.

Cook for 40 minutes (or until a tooth pick comes out clear).

Let cool for 10 minutes and then make whatever you’ve like out of it! Or just top with butter and serve warm. Mmmmmmm


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Retro Recipe: Spiced Orange Apple Cider

December 4, 2011

Woah, where to begin? It’s been over two weeks since my last post but I promise I have good excuses for this. First off, I spent my Thanksgiving vacation in the mountains in Colorado with my Ma’s side of the family. And although living on the side of a mountain in a mansion of a log cabin is perfect for skiing and sledding and getting drunk off of bloody marys…it’s not the type of place where I’d have internet connection….. sooooo no posting for me that week.

But, while we are on the topic, I got some awesome pictures of the long weekend!

We decided to drive which meant that those 36 hours of car time was bound to ignite a roadtrip-esc experience of stopping at every road side attraction possible.

The weekend consisted of hanging out with my brother in Denver, taking snow filled walks, drinking with family, eating, eating, eating, and playing in the mountains.

I didn’t really have the patience or internal heat for skiing (although we did try it one day! But that just ended in us spending 80 percent of the time in the lodge at the bottom getting tipsy). We did go tubing on top of a mountain at Keystone the Sunday we were there (pictured above) and it was so much fun. I promise my brother is not as mean (well…mostly) as he looks in this picture.

So where am I going with this lengthy and wordy post? Well, on our 36 hour car ride endevour, we made it a point to stop at as many Goodwills along the way as possible (we are vintage shopping horders. Serious problem, we know). And while at a small Goodwill in Middle-of-nowhere, Kansas I came across a Betty Crocker Deluxe cookbook set. I mean this thing is legendary, it was published in 1969 and has 4 separate cookbooks that fit perfectly into a boxset with Betty Crocker’s face (or at least what they decided she should look like if she was to really exist) painted across the front (don’t worry- I’ll include a picture of it later!). Anyhow, this boxset got me to thinking that the places I look for recipes are all quite similar and I need to start experimenting with other sources. So I’ve decided that every so often I’m going to do a retro recipe where I adapt one of the original Betty Crocker recipes from this deluxe set into a revamped, modern vegetarian dish! Don’t worry, there are alot of recipes in this book that went out of style for a reason (cactus juice=milk and green food coloring. wwaaaah?) so I’ll try to stick to appetizing oldies.

This recipe I made while we were staying in the cabin. What I did was make it alcohol free for all the kiddies but keep the whiskey close for people who wanted to add it to their serving.

Spiced Orange Apple Cider

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

  • 2 oranges
  • 30 cloves
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons all spice
  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • Whiskey, optional

Stick the cloves into the orange skins like shown.

Then add everything to a big pot and let simmer for an hour! This will mend the flavors all together to create a warm and crisp flavor!

Serve with whiskey or cinnamon sticks. Boom. that’s it.