Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.

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Triple Berry Red Velvet Baked Oatmeal

Triple Berry Red Velvet Baked OatmealIMG_2860Triple Berry Red Velvet Baked Oatmeal IMG_3081Triple Berry Red Velvet Baked OatmealIMG_2813

My brother was born on the fourth of July. Try as I might, I cannot imagine a better day on which to be born. Not in OUR calendar year, at least. You get automatic, built-in, don’t even have to lift a finger: barbecues, parties and fireworks. FIREWORKS for crying out loud. Year in and year out, without fail. It’s all pretty fantastic, if you ask me. A far better deal than the one given to my friend who was born on February 29. Poor guy only really gets to celebrate a true blue birthday every four years. That could be cool though, depending on your personality type, I guess.

I remember the night my brother was born. But the memories only come in small snippets, short bursts of clarity like you might see on an old black and white television set, as you wiggle and maneuver the antennas around to get the picture to come in, free from all the static. A little to the right … now just a tiny bit to the left. Good! Hold it right there. Continue reading

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one flew over the couscous nest (or, north african couscous salad with a homemade pistachio dukkah)

North African Couscous Salad with Pistachio DukkahPistachio DukkahPistachio DukkahPistachio Dukkah

When I was in college, I used to wear this purple t-shirt that said in big white lettering, “One Flew Over the CousCous Nest!” My Mom gave it to me. I think she found it in one of those mail order catalogues that have all sorts of random trinkets and gift-like items – kind of like Sky Mall but for your house. Ah, this will be PERFECT for Lauren, I bet she thought to herself, knowing the full extent of my food nerdiness even then, even at my “ripe old” age of twenty. I’d taken a pair of kitchen shears to that shirt, chopping off the ends of the sleeves and widening its crew neck to make it look like I’d plucked it from a vintage clothing rack in a town much cooler than my own.

I chose this shirt one morning in the Spring of my Sophomore year, as I was getting dressed for my job at the campus bookstore, and I distinctly remember glancing in my warped, full length mirror on my way out the door and thinking to myself, man, wouldn’t it be great if I landed a job where i could wear cut-off t-shirts and jeans to work every day? Now, as I sit here at my desk sipping from a coffee cup that is ironically perched atop a small pile of writing invoices from jobs past, I can’t help but smile at that notion. Dreams really do come true! Continue reading

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white peach, tomato & feta salad with candied bacon & a creamy basil-mint vinaigrette

IMG_2509Peach & Tomato Salad with Candied Bacon and Creamy Basil-Mint VinaigretteIMG_2513Peach & Tomato Salad with Candied Bacon and Creamy Basil-Mint VinaigrettePeach & Tomato Salad with Candied Bacon and Creamy Basil-Mint Vinaigrette

Wiping the sweat from my brow, referee’s whistle still ringing in my ears, I jogged over to the sidelines and scanned the pile of multi-colored Igloo water bottles until I spotted my own. It was bright red with a purple and white lid and if I remember correctly, my last name, “Angelucci,” was tattooed around the bottom, written with crafty precision and perfectly Sharpie’d letters by my Mother’s careful hands. There were three Lauren’s on my soccer team, so everyone called me by my last name, usually with their best attempt at an Italian accent. Oh, sweet relief! That cold water provided much needed hydration after a hot 30 minutes of play under the unrelenting Tennessee sun. No matter that the ice had almost fully melted and that there were bits of freshly cut grass floating around on the surface. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have cared much for water laced with grass and bits of dirt. But during the halftime of a late summertime soccer tournament in the South, I could have cared less. If it was wet, I drank it. The same principle applied to food as well. Whatever type of food was designated as the halftime snack was always fine with me. It was almost always oranges though. We’re talking 99.9% of the time. I’m not a lover of oranges, never having been fond of the stringy pulp and all of the work involved. But in the middle of a hot soccer game? The more the merrier. Continue reading

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thai marinated chicken kabobs with red curry peanut sauce & a banana “ice cream”

Thai Style Chicken Kabobs with a Red Curry & Coconut SauceThai Style Chicken Kabobs with a Red Curry & Coconut SauceThai Style Chicken Kabobs with a Red Curry & Coconut SauceThai Style Chicken Kabobs with a Red Curry & Coconut Sauce

“Youth is wasted on the young.” An expression I heard regularly throughout the course of my own youth, but one that I never fully understood or gave much attention to prior to my own exodus from the “youth” stage of my life. While I’m not particularly old, I’m also not particularly young; my 31 years of age keeping me situated comfortably in the gray zone, hovering somewhere between the two. Perhaps my 80-year-old self will laugh at that statement someday. Time will tell, I suppose. I can tell you that I do now fully understand the aforementioned expression, although I have a small, personalized amendment to make – a slight poetically licensed edit to help those six words better fit my own current experience.

Freedom is wasted on the young.” There. That’s my change. Just one word. That’s what I’ve come to recognize in my own life, as I settle deeper into my role as a parent and the loss of things I once took for granted becomes a little more pronounced. Words like spontaneity, independence and freedom aren’t really part of my day to day reality at this particular juncture in my life, not that I really mind so much. I wouldn’t trade my current juncture for any other, as I love being a mom and all of the work that comes with it. I feel privileged and proud and passionate about my role as a parent, regardless of the loss of former freedoms. That loss pales in comparison to all I’ve gained, so this commentary is not a complaint so much as it is an observation – a fact. It is a fact that, as a mother of two very young children, I do not have the freedom in life that I once did. No peaceful trips to my local coffee shop to get writing done (I’m writing this with my two-year-old banging on the table underneath my legs while she belts out “County Roads Take Me Home”). There are no solo trips to the grocery store or long cathartic runs out on country trail roads like I used to do on a thrice-weekly basis. No leisurely shopping trips to hunt for the perfect “little black dress” for the upcoming cocktail party. Cocktail party? Those sound fun. Continue reading


wildflower & arugula salad with orange blossom vinaigrette & farmer’s cheese

Wildflower & Arugula Salad with Orange Blossom Vinaigrette & Farmer's CheeseWildflower & Arugula Salad with Orange Blossom Vinaigrette & Farmer's CheeseWildflower & Arugula Salad with Orange Blossom Vinaigrette & Farmer's CheeseIMG_2455

You can give it your best shot, your most valiant effort. Search high. Search low. Leave no stone unturned. But no matter where your search may lead, I am willing to bet that you will never come across a bottled or store-bought salad dressing that in any way rivals one that is made fresh, right at home. This is one kitchen truth that proves its validity time and time again in my own culinary adventuring. Whether it’s a creamy peppercorn ranch, a mouth puckering blue cheese, or a light and sweet vinaigrette, the humble salad dressing (or maybe not so humble) is one food genre that is always better when you DIY. If you have evidence to the contrary, however, I’d love to hear about it.  Continue reading


cherry berry crunch doughnuts & the laws of the universe

Cherry & Blueberry Glazed Yeast DoughnutsCherry & Blueberry Glazed Yeast DoughnutsCherry & Blueberry Glazed Yeast DoughnutsCherry & Blueberry Glazed Yeast DoughnutsIMG_2077

There is an unspoken law of the universe which states that, if I should be so careless as to leave either A) a stroller outside or B) my car windows open, it will rain. Boy will it rain. Today, as has been the case on countless other occasions, I fell victim to this very phenomenon. I guess technically I can’t play the victim card here, seeing as how I really do this to myself. My husband is always astounded at my inability to remember to roll my car windows up, and I have to admit that I’m often very astounded by this myself. Wow! I did it again! I swore last time and the 20 times before that it would never happen again, and here we are. Is this what is referred to as a mental block? Eh, I dunno. But today also brought with it the fun added bonus of the stroller being left outside, smack dab in the open. Poor thing didn’t stand a chance. It felt like I was getting a two-for-one special, what with the stroller and car debacles happening in unison, except this is the kind of special that you DON’T want.

I had just laid down on my bed to take a rare and highly prized nap when the realization of what I’d done set in. It was one of those naps that I truly could not wait to take, too. The stars had aligned just right, and I’d successfully managed to get both kids sleeping at the same time. This only happens about 35% of the time, give or take. Today just so happened to have fallen into that category and I was ready and waiting to pounce on the opportunity to take my own quiet time, to “drift off into dreamland,” as Elle says. With both children sleeping soundly in their respective cribs, I took my spot on my bed next to Harley the cat, closed my eyes and audibly sighed in contentment. Thank you, universe.  Continue reading

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a most unpretentious meatball stew

Five-Ingredient Meatball StewFive-Ingredient Meatball Stew

With my sleeves rolled up safely beyond the protective shield of my elbows, hair pulled up into a messy attempt at a chic bun, and my two-year-old daughter standing patiently at my side, her own wooden spoon in hand, I take a deep breath and dive my clean hands down into the bowl of ground meat, herbs and spices. Meatball making day has commenced.

The ancient art of meatball making is a topic with which I am fascinated and about which I am utterly enthused. So many vibrant food cultures around the world stake claim on their own version of the spherical wonder that is the meatball and my kitchen has played host to many of them, I’m proud to say. The process of crafting an excellent meatball is almost therapeutic for me; the mechanics of it always the same and only the ingredients shifting and changing depending on which culture’s version you’ve got in mind that day. Wringing the milk out of the fresh breadcrumbs and then subsequently adding them to the ground meat mixture is easily my favorite step when making my classic Italian meatball recipe. It is hands down the best hands-on kitchen experience I can think of, bringing out the kid in anyone who dares to dirty their hands in the mess. I make a North African meatball sometimes that is wonderfully warm and spicy and just exotic seeming enough to elevate an otherwise ordinary weeknight meal into something exciting – something worth blogging about, actually (note to self …). Then there’s the Swedish meatball and the Asian sweet and sour meatball (both of which are lovely in their own rights), the Middle Eastern kofta and the beloved Mexican albondigas (two of my personal favorites), and the German Königsbeger Klopse (never made it), the Japanese Tsukune (had to check my spelling on this one), and yes, even the Welsh faggot (which I’ve sampled in its native land and thoroughly enjoyed). 

“You got this Mama! It’s meatball time!” I’ve been teaching Elle select encouraging and/or supportive phrases to employ at chosen times, like when she’s with me on a long run or, as was the case here, when I’m working on a particularly large cooking project. The words might be coming from a toddler who doesn’t totally get what she’s saying or why, but you’d be surprised at how effective it can be. Continue reading


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