Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…

1 Comment

A Fresh Start

It has been a long time since I have shared anything here.  Life got in the way, and this just became another thing on the to-do list.  Now, three years later, I realized how much I missed it.  So many things have changed, and I’m sure I will be sharing that as time goes on.  Now, I am just happy to be back.

So, what’s next for me, and Crest Cottage Creations?

Well, expect lots of edible creations, of course!  Some featuring a fantastic little cook-in-training…


I’ll also be sharing tidbits about our lives.  Since we last spoke, we added another little one to the crew.

Baby J

As our family grows, I’m learning as much as the kids!  I’d love to share the ups, downs, lessons, and wins while I work out the tough stuff.  After all, creations come in all shapes, sizes, and forms.

I’m excited to be creating, sharing, and learning again.  I hope you will be along for the ride!

whole family

Leave a comment

2012 Green Goals

A few of my Green Goals for 2012:
1) Fill our spare freezer with home made ingredients (stock, macaroni sauce, breads, “convenience foods” from scratch, etc)
2) Grow a portion of our food in our garden.  We tried one last summer (our first at Crest Cottage), but I was pregnant and sick and not any help at all.  We got some cucumbers and tomatoes, and John had some success with garlic and potatoes, but not much of anything else.  This year we are going in with a better plan of attack.  Hopefully the baby will like to be outside!
3) Create an herb garden that can be brought inside for the winter.
4) Remember to actually USE the bags in my car.
5) Make some more cleaners at home (and find more uses for my current baking soda/white vinegar/essential oils/castile soap)
That seems like a manageable amount of goals to start with.  What are yours?
Great Food for Thought!

 This post was shared on the Nourishing New Year’s Resolution Carnival!


Long Time, No See

Welcome back to Crest Cottage!  I know it has been a while since I last posted, but I promise, there is a good reason!!
I was tired… and therefore not creating. 
Not too good of a reason?  Well….  How about the reason I was tired?
Yes!  We at Crest Cottage are expecting our newest creation to arrive in February!  In the meantime, stick around!  I’m feeling better and am jumping back onto the blogging/creating train.  I missed it!

1 Comment

Thoughts on Allergies.

Recently, I have had some thoughts on seasonal (namely, spring) allergies, and I want to share them with you.
My whole life I have suffered from allergies.  In addition to indoor and pet dander, I had a multitude of outdoor allergies.  Pollen and freshly cut grass were especially bad, and most of the spring was spent battling itchy, puffy eyes, a clogged yet runny nose, a scratchy throat, and sometimes asthma. 
This year they are just about gone.  Sure, I sneeze a little.  My nose was itchy a few times.  But basically?  They are gone!  For the first time in my life, I am smelling the roses… literally!  When I drive home from work with my windows open, I am shocked by the amazing aromas of the flowers.  I never realized it before, but my nose is always so clogged during this season that I have never had the ability to smell it before.  The other day, I was at a traffic light near a home that was having its lawn trimmed.  In the past, I would have held my breath to prevent breathing in the allergens.  This time?  I inhaled deeply and enjoyed it!
I haven’t figured out why I am immune this year.  I mean, rumor has it that this year has the highest pollen levels in ages.  I do have a few theories…
1)  Our diet.  This spring marks nearly year in which we have been eating in this way.  Happy animals, raw milk, and local honey may have contributed.  Each of these foods has been attributed with healing allergies.   
2)  Our location.  We moved last summer.  This is the first spring that we lived here.  Maybe the plants are different!   I’m not sure how much this contributes, though, because I still work in the town that we were living in before.  I am still there every day with no problem.  
3)  Our cleaning products.  We really only use anti-bacterial products for really germy messes… toilets, raw meat juices, and things of that nature.  Maybe my immune system has to fight more environmental germs the way it was designed to, and it stopped wasting its time on pollen and grass?
4)  I outgrew them.  Doubtful, but possible.
Yes, I know that by posting this, I am basically ASKING for a major allergy attack.  It’s like when you say “It can’t get any worse!” and it does.  Well, I’m ready for it.  
What are your thoughts?  Where did my allergies go?

This post was shared on Your Green Resource and Simple Lives Thursday!


Vodka Sauce and Table-Scapes

So… This week I created my first “tablescape.”  Our dining room table has been naked since we moved in, and on Monday I was inspired to change that.  
Blue and white checker table cloth, white napkins, Crate-and-Barrel bowls, and simple wine glasses.  My favorite part is the centerpiece.  
We picked up this blue pitcher at a garage sale a few years back.  I went outside and snipped some forsythia from the huge, overgrown bushes in our yard.  It is the perfect touch!
Moving on to the food, which is why you are all here, of course.  
Vodka Sauce.  
The last time I made this recipe, I was in high school.  It was late at night and my best friend Kristie and I decided to make vodka sauce.  I think we were the only kids that sneaked liquor, not to drink, but to cook with.  Anyway, it was a disaster.  The original recipe called for canned tomatoes, which of course, we didn’t have.  We took cherry tomatoes and tried to mush them up.  That didn’t work, they just exploded everywhere.  Then, it seemed that I wrote the recipe down incorrectly.  The vodka measurement I wrote down was 2/c cup.  When we make it, we put in 2 cups.  FYI, that is a flammable amount of vodka.  The stove went up in flames.  Oops.  
Now, a decade later, I decided to re-attempt that very recipe.  
First, I melted down 2 tablespoons of butter.  Then, I had to figure out what 2/c cup was.  I settled on 1/2 cup.  
The rest of the recipe was easy.  I added in my tomato sauce and raw milk cream. 
I mixed it all together and added some salt. 
It was so yummy!  I poured it into a jar, and it is waiting to me mixed with rigatoni and peas!
…and don’t worry, the cream in the measuring cup didn’t go to waste.


Vacation Food

One of the things John and I like to do when we are on vacation is cook.  We prefer to use foods from the area we are cooking in from small local shops as opposed to supermarkets.  When we were in the Poconos, we had our first Raw Milk experience.  When we honeymooned in Hawaii, we spent a few days browsing for local foods and cooking them at the hotel (Perhaps I should post about that?  what do you think?)
This trip, we stopped by this amazing little shop that was down the street from our bed and breakfast.  The shop was called The Savory Gourmet and it specializes in meats and cheeses.  It was like a playground!  Well, it didn’t LOOK like a playground, but the selection of specialty meats and cheeses was astounding.  John decided that we would be cooking kangaroo medallions on Saturday night.  
We were lucky enough to have a room with a kitchen (it was a suite, really, but more about THAT tomorrow).  We saw that there was a pan and a pot, along with a few cooking utensials, so we figured we were set.  What didn’t we think about?  Seasonings and cooking fat.  
Yeah.  We had neither.  
Did that deter us?  NEVER!  John got the pan nice and hot, threw the kangaroo on, and hoped for the best.  
Looks good already, huh!
While that was cooking, I put together a quick side dish.  It was just some green beans I picked up in our travels from a farm stand, blanched.  
While I’m sure people that are much more serious about food than we are would be horrified, our meal was delicious.  Yes, the meat could have used some butter and salt.  Really, what isn’t better with butter and salt?  The thing is, it doesn’t matter to us.  It was yummy filling, and fun to cook.  
OH!  We also learned how to twist pretzels.  Mine was wimpy…
John’s was awesome!
He may have enjoyed a nibble of pretzel before he left… MMmmmm!


Bloggers are real people, too!

… and they can be really cool in real life!
As you know, John and I spent last weekend near Lancaster, PA.  What you might not know is that one of the nicest bloggers ever lives there!  Zoe (of Whole Eats & Whole Treats) and her husband Brad were kind enough to have us over while we were in the neighborhood.  Let me tell you, she is JUST as sweet as she seems!  If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, do it now.  It is chock full of recipes (especially recipes for desserts…yummm!)
I really wanted to meet her chickens.  I know how silly that sounds, but John and I have been talking about getting chickens for a while, and I wanted to spend some time with them.  Zoe, of course, obliged and led us over to them.  It probably seemed strange to her that we wanted to “meet” her chickens and see her gardens, but we live in the suburbs.  We like to PRETEND it is the country, but really, it isn’t.  
Anyway, seeing Zoe’s chickens totally solidified the idea for us.  Well, seeing the chickens AND tasting how DELICIOUS the eggs were solidified it.  She was generous enough to send us home with 4 dozen eggs!  She keeps saying how we were helping her out by taking them off her hands, but I don’t totally believe it.  Based upon what we have to pay for nearly-but-not-quite farm fresh eggs, it seemed like an AMAZING gift.  
One of the things we talked about what the type/price of food available to us in our area.  When we shared with her the price we have to pay for raw milk in NJ (when we can get it at all), her eyes nearly popped out of her head!  We continued to discuss eggs, chicken, and meat, and all the while she was shaking her head.  It really made me think about how hard we work to be able to afford the type of happy food we eat.  It also added another layer to our understanding of why people eat the Standard American Diet and how far we need to go before progress is made.  
What can we do to bring our ideals (happy animals that weren’t “grown” in factory farms or CAFOs, fresh products, non-GMO food) to the rest of the country?  How can we make it more affordable for suburbanites like us?

This post was featured on Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop!


Anniversary Weekend

Happy Monday!
Yesterday marked our 1 year anniversary!  
To celebrate, we headed down to the Lancaster, PA area for a long weekend.  For the next few days, I will be posting the details.  Can’t wait?  Here’s a sneak peek at the highlights:
Awesome shopping
Meeting up with a blogger friend
Grabbing lots of plants for our kitchen and veggie gardens
This busy, busy weekend was a GREAT way to celebrate a busy, busy first year of marriage.  Here’s to many more!