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Playing Hooky

18 Mar

Where the heck have I been? Playing hooky, that’s where. This is going to have to be an extra long post to make up for my lack of blogging lately!!

I was on spring break for a week, I visited Anna Maria Island, in FL. Ate lots of seafood, got  to spend a lot of time with family, met some family I had never met, relaxed, and ate some more seafood! I also collected more family recipes while I was there, from my Great Aunt Joyce,  looks like there is going to have to be a sequel to my cookbook to include some of the treasures she shared with me. It was a great week off of school!! But all good things must come to an end.

My Dad, Cousin Jan, Myself, and my Mom, enjoying a fantastic dinner. This is where I had the tasty strawberry salad, continue reading for more about my new salad addiction

My Dad and I enjoying a celebratory pineapple martini (note his little brother martini, and my grown up martini!)

My Great Aunt Joyce, she is such a joy!

Fast forward to this week>>>>>>>>I finished my cookbook! I sent it to the printer Wednesday, and now I am waiting for my first copy!!! But that doesn’t mean it is time to stop cooking!

While I was in Anna Maria I had this wonderful strawberry salad. When I returned to Michigan I decided I had to try to replicate this salad. It was lots of strawberries, a little spring greens, candied nuts, and a thick goody balsamic reduction (the restraunt also put blue cheese on the salad, for the home version I skipped the cheese). Strawberries are not quite in season yet, so the ones I got were from Florida, but soon enough I will be making this salad with fresh local berries!

Cut up lots of strawberries, I mean lots!

Cook some pecans with butter and brown sugar, allow to cool.

Make a simple balsamic reduction, allow to cool in a small glass jar.

Plate with a little spring mix, a pile of strawberries, candied nuts, and the balsamic reduction.

The best part about making this at home is you can lick the plate, guilt free.

Even though my cookbook has been sent to the printer that isn’t the end of my project. I still have to plan the installation. Today I went to lots of thrift stores, collecting objects to complete the installation, stay tuned to see how this turns out!

Just a sneak peek at some of the items that are going to go into my installation! Lots more to come!

And thats still not all!! I ordered some new business cards that are the same theme as my cookbook. These will be at my senior show for people to take with them if they want to know more about the project, this blog, my website, or want to get in touch with me! I ordered the cards from Moo. What an awesome company. They have great customer service, they helped me make some tweaks last minute, and the cards turned out better than I could of imagined. The quality is just stellar!

My Moo cards arrived in these awesome boxes, I'm a sucker for good packaging.

Moo customer service is beyond amazing, I highly recommend this company. Here is the front of one of the three different cards I got.

The back of my business cards have a recipe and a link to my website. I am not sure if it is a business card, or a recipe card? Hmmmm...

Notice the quality of the paper, thick and matte, ahhhh I love nice paper.

Well I think that was the longest blog post ever! Thanks for hanging in there folks!


Sneak Peek Again!

26 Feb

More sneak peek pages!!

I am really trying to wrap things up today, here are a few more pages for your viewing pleasure.

Some of you might know that I don’t eat meat, so you might be wondering, what’s with the prime rib, Amanda?!

1. My Dad and Grandpa both take good care of me, and they cooked and ate it. I just took the food photography!

2. I am trying to be really honest in this book, these are the recipes that my family loves and has passed down, so I am trying to include everything, even if it’s not my favorite food!


Prime Rib

Mac n Tomatoes, comfort food!

I also want to share with you another project I have been working on. The identity for my senior show, which begins with the postcard (the postcard is the formal invite to the show that gets sent all over town to friends, family and faculty!) Here is the front of the postcard that myself and three others have been working on. We designed a custom typeface, cut out the 3D typography out of wood, painted it, and photographed it in this crazy urban graffiti spray paint booth scene.

Bling! Flash! Art! (and ya, thats the title of our senior thesis show, we don't mess around with being shy).

And Then There Were None

25 Feb

Cooking my last recipes today!! (yipee!) Only have a few left!!

I am thinking after this cookbook is done my next blog will be about eating out or drinking beer, because both of those seem easier than cooking my way through all of my families recipes. I think my next blog will be about drinking my way through all the local craft beers at Sicilianos Market…hmmm, I will ponder this further…

Here are some of my last food photography shots, they turned out really fun and playful. Still more cooking to do today though, brownies, chocolate gravy, and popovers still remain…

Nanas bon bons

More bon bons and more sprinkles!

Nana's famous chocolate cookie sheet cake!

My kitchen mid lots of cooking!


10 Feb

I went home today for a quick visit with my folks. While I was home I wanted to go through a lot of the old pictures my parents have, tucked away in boxes, and see what I could find. With my families help (my mom, dad, and grandpa) I got a lot of great information today. I plan to include some photographs in my cookbook. The cookbook is really a painting of my genealogy through food, and the photographs help to introduce the main characters. I found a treasure trove of photos, including this one, of a typical Thanksgiving spread at Grandma Ellis’s home (that would be my moms, moms, mom, or my great-grandma, famous for her chocolate gravy).

I found it really inspiring that someone took this food photography, way back then. That someone appreciated this home cooked meal enough to snap a picture and document the holiday. We don’t think much of taking a picture of our meals today, because with digital photography photos are of endless supply. But whoever took this photo used one of probably only twelve photos they had on the roll, so obviously this was of some importance to them. And of the other photos of family laughing and eating that day I appreciate this one, because it is a little glimpse into the food of our nations past. Notice the vegetables, they are probably all from their garden, canned during the summer just for this occasion. The food on the table all looks so familiar, turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, but they way that it got to this table is probably more foreign to us then we can begin to imagine.

This photo is such a gem, and I can’t wait to find a way to incorporate it into my book.

Thanksgiving at Grandma Ellis's

Egg cream and okra… please enjoy separately.

8 Jan

Today is my last day of Christmas Break. Okay, well, tomorrow is Sunday, so I have 1 more day. But today is my last day at home. Finishing up final photographs, and gathering last recipes. Tuesday is my first senior show class! I am so ready to get started working on the design of my cookbook, now that I have a lot of the photography and research done. Here are some little morsels to enjoy!

Copying down some old recipes from home, my mom got a lot of these recipes from her mom, and she got them from her mom, before she moved from Missouri to Michigan, in 1987. In the early 90's she got a typewriter and converted the recipes to typed recipe cards.

Silver dollar pancakes, or Country House pancakes. A very thin pancake, unique flavor, has yeast in it that makes it very different from a thick fluffy pancake. No other pancake compares!

Pancakes with blueberries from Beulah MI, my parents froze them this summer, like a little taste of summer! This is one of my favorite meals.

My great grandma Ellis's cole slaw, my cousin Heather sent me this recipe, it is a lot like my moms recipe. I love this slaw, it is a vinegary slaw, perfect with fish.

This is an egg cream. My grandma used to make these for me as a special treat. Egg creams originated in Brooklyn New York, in the 1880's. I have no idea where my grandma learned to make them, but they are delightful. And no, it does not contain egg! It is chocolate syrup, milk (or milk substitute for those of us who can't eat dairy), and seltzer water or club soda. If the straw doesn't stand up in the foam then your egg cream is not foamy enough!

Fried okra, what can I say, it is...heavenly. My mom learned how to cook it the proper southern way from my great grandma Ellis; bacon grease, cornmeal, flour, and a hot cast iron skillet.

Busy Day of Cooking

2 Jan

I am so tired, my mom and I cooked and did photography all day today in preparation for my cookbook. We made pasty pie (a Michigan tradition). A tomato relish, my grandfather gave me this recipe, also made popovers and honey butter! I am too tired to explain anymore…just look at the pictures!

Tomato relish, spicy and sweet and vinegary

Popovers, still need to perfect my recipe though

Honey pecan butter for the popovers, very tasty!

Pasty pie, similar to a traditional pasty but baked like a pie! This is a twist on a pasty that my mom created.

What I Have Been Eating

30 Dec

Been working through some more family recipes, and doing some more food photography! Here is what I have been eating…


My grandfather gave me this recipe, it is baked tomatoes, very good!


My mom rolling out dough for dumplings, this is my great grandmothers recipe (my moms, moms, mom!) A southern classic!


Mom cutting the dumplings


letting the dumplings dry before flipping them


Homemade waffles with butter and syrup for dinner!