Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.


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strawberry & pistachio pie, two ways

I started this blog on a whim. It was Winter 2014 and I’d found myself at a crossroads of sorts, having (kind of) gotten the hang of motherhood and seeking something more – something that would help me feel creative and inspired and motivated and excited, I guess. A food blog has an uncanny ability to do all of those things, if you let it … if you want it to. A truly incredible outlet and platform for all types of creativity, a simple food blog is a veritable blank canvas for everything from delicious recipes and unique photography to artful styling and personal storytelling  … and more. Had I known how genuinely beneficial this little online space would be to me – and in how many ways – I would have started it long before I actually did. We all know what they say about hindsight, though …

I even deleted it once, my blog. After nearly a year of posting, in one hasty, nearly insane moment of total weakness, I deleted every. single. post. because I decided I didn’t really like them very much, the whole lot of them. Well, hello neurotic lady! 

I’m still tempted to do that sometimes, but I think part of the beauty of a living, breathing, real-time journal like this is that you get to see the evolution of a person. That’s something I particularly enjoy as a lover of many blogs. It’s nice to watch someone grow and develop in their style and voice, and to delete past work purely because it doesn’t quite sync up with current work, seems silly and almost sad. And so, I will delete no more. Continue reading


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comfort food

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When you’re little, people tell you there’s no such thing as the boogeyman. They say that there are no ghosts, demons or scary things that go bump in the night. They tell you that monsters don’t hide under beds – that monsters don’t hide anywhere. Because there’s no such thing. But even so, you always check … just to be sure.

But then you grow up, and it’s your turn to be the reassuring one. Do you believe what you tell the kids, when you say that there is nothing to be afraid of and that everything will be okay? Usually you do, because you’re a grownup and you know that there’s no such thing as monsters. Even so, your pace still quickens when you run up the stairs at night or pass through a dark, quiet room when you’re all alone. Because remnants of those childhood fears are still there somewhere, buried deep down below that grownup, rational, reasonable exterior. Because the feeling of not seeing – of not knowing – what lurks behind you is an unsettling, oppressive feeling for anyone … even if good sense is trying to tell you that everything is fine. There is no such thing as the boogeyman, after all.

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Exactly a week ago today, while my whole family was sleeping, a man came into our home and robbed us. He helped himself to our belongings … taking my purse, my brand new laptop computer, our desktop computer, and ultimately driving away in our car. The process of discovering that each of these things was missing was a gradual one, each item coming to our attention as we walked through our small house in a daze, the very kind police officer helping us to understand the situation and to come to grips with what had happened. As if one can really even do either of those things. Continue reading


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blackberry & fig jam buns with sour cream glaze

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Confession. My consistent attempts to “waste not, want not” often lead me to many an awkward morning, where I find myself sitting down to dinner before the sun has even had time to fully light up the sky. Dinner for breakfast is decidedly not a thing – but it is for me, bizarre though it may be. My kids wander through the dining room in their PJs and, little as they are, they usually give me a skeptical sideways glance or two when they see the spread that I have laid out before me. Coffee next to a casserole. Orange juice next to the previous night’s salmon or pasta or … roasted chicken. “That’s silly, Mommy!” Elle will say, giggling at the fact that her Mom isn’t having breakfast for breakfast but rather, the same foods that she had for dinner the night before. It is silly, I’ll admit.

The good news though, is that there is a trick to this practice of dinner for breakfast: you can top almost anything with a fried egg and bring it much, much closer to the breakfast side of things. It’s amazing, actually – the egg’ed disguise is incredibly effective. Last night’s roasted veggies? Put an egg on them and you’ve got a stunner of a breakfast hash, and there aren’t too many better ways to start the day, if you ask me. Have some pizza left over? Same thing – put an egg on it, et voila! Breakfast pizza. We all know that steak and eggs is a classic, as is the fried egg burger … and that salmon to which I just referred recently accompanied some chive cream cheese, thinly sliced red onion and a toasted bagel for a dinner-turned-breakfast that I’d like to think would rival anything at your favorite deli. So, thanks to the incredible edible egg, the awkwardness of my whole eating dinner for breakfast thing is greatly reduced. Thanks eggs! Or, thank you to the chickens … hard to say which came first. Continue reading


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smoke rings in the dark

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I never minded that the grass made my legs itch, or that its dewdrops soaked through my summer dresses. Long and rarely cut by the blades of any man-powered machine, these blades of sweet summertime bluegrass provided a bed for us to do all of our daydreaming in – the best kind of bed. Real bedroom beds are for Lights outIt’s past your bedtime, and Time to get upYou’ll be late for school! Tossing and turning, sleeplessness, alarm clock buzzes and snooze button pressings and Can I have just five more minutes, please? And even, heaven forbid, the occasional nightmare. No, I’d never heard of anyone having a scary or bad daydream out there, in that field. Is there even such a thing? Daydreams are reserved for hopes and happiness, for wistful imaginings and nostalgic musings … where your thoughts go when they want to play a little, to get lost in the best of ways before you have to coax them back to reality. At least that’s what I’d like to think, anyway.

I’d go to this one grassy field sometimes when I was younger, an opening in a grove of tall trees set just behind a popular park in my small Kentucky town, and there I would lay, paying no mind to those pesky drops of water still clinging to the tips of each blade of grass. It was always morning when I was there, so the fierce summer sun had yet to burn them away. No matter though, I’d think as I stared up at the sky, patiently awaiting the arrival of the perfect cloud. Because on cloud watching day, one couldn’t be bothered by something so trivial as a dewdrop or two. Or two thousand. Continue reading


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four winter salads

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“Lauren, don’t wish your life away! You’ll regret it when you’re older …” I’ve heard these words time and time again in my life, as I have always been painfully, regretfully guilty of doing just that: wishing the time away. It’s my worst habit, no question. I seem to naturally look forward to whatever’s coming next … craning my neck to get a peek of what lies just around the bend of life …

“Stop waiting for Friday,” they say. “For Summer. For someone to fall in love with you. For life.”

This is the time of year that tends to draw out the pessimist in me – in many of us – and year after year, I always find myself wishing away the winter season entirely … in one fell swoop, as if it is such a horrible thing. I referenced my disdain for the colder, darker months of the year a few posts back and I’ve been working to make good on my pre-new year’s resolution to embrace the season with a hopeful, much more grateful heart. Now that I have two children who I can literally see changing and growing before my eyes each day, the concept and construct of time and its passing have changed dramatically for me. It freaks me out. Where I used to spend time daydreaming about the future, I now want to stop the clock. While I used to countdown days on the calendar until my next birthday – when I would be older, more grown-up seeming – I now would gladly trade a few of my birthdays for extra days to sneak in over the course of a year, to make time drift by just a little slower …

We’ve spent the past three weeks traveling, our time divided between family in Kentucky and Virginia – two of my favorite places on this planet Earth. It has been the type of vacation where the lines between days blur a bit and you’re not ever totally sure what the number on the calendar says at any given time. Wonderful, it is. Our daily routines of home and the inevitable monotony that results from them are abandoned while we’re away, changing the way we designate the hours and minutes of each day, how we approach them. It’s refreshing to loosen the slack on time a bit, and just be. To really sink your feet down in a moment and enjoy it for what it is, not what is coming next or what you have to do next or where you have to be is something of an art form, a learned skill that I am working to master … If not master, then to at least pass with a satisfactory grade.

“True happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.”

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the ghost train

You could hear the food rolling around in the back as the car came to a sudden, unexpected stop. In one unified and seemingly choreographed collapse, the canvas grocery bags had toppled over, letting go of their overly stuffed contents. Two bottles of wine clanked and banged into one another, perched on the precipice of a shatteringly terrible mess. It was red wine, no less. Were it not for the two loaves of whole wheat bread who so gallantly stood in as buffers (buy one, get one!), they surely would have broken, those wine bottles, spilling their dark red liquid all over the trunk of my car. I eyed the receipt that was sticking out of my purse, trying to remember what I’d purchased that could have spilled or burst or wreaked utter havoc in the way way back.

We almost made it, though. We almost cleared the tracks before the lights started flashing and the gate came down. Almost. I couldn’t recall the last time I’d had to stop for a train, and this one seemed to have come out of nowhere … the flashing lights and ringing bells catching me off guard and causing me to slam on my breaks. So alas there we sat, my two children and I, waiting for the impending arrival of the train that we could feel coming before we ever saw or heard it. Here it comes! Here it comes! All aboard! The kids were ecstatic, thrilled. We were first in line for the viewing of this train and last, incidentally, to arrive at the gymnastics class to which we were headed. Thanks, train.

And now, we wait. Continue reading


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milk & cookies

While I fear it may give the impression that I am somewhat of a scrooge, in the name of transparency I will admit something to you … {takes deep breath … hovers fingers above keyboard}. Okay, here goes …

My name is Lauren, I am 33 years old, and I have never put up a Christmas tree. There! I said it. I feel better – the weight has been lifted.

Sure I’ve put up decorations here and there over the years, to celebrate the holiday season (and admittedly, because I feel obligated to do it for a number of reasons). But no tree. We’ve just never done it. I’m not really sure why, although I suspect it has more to do with utter, shameful laziness than anything else, really. We’ve moved a lot too, and I’ve adopted somewhat of an anti-hoarding philosophy when it comes to how I approach my belongings (i.e. I try to minimize my earthly possessions as much as possible). So, holiday decor has just never made the cut. Also, there have been small children added into the mix. And cats (alright fine, that’s not a real excuse). And so alas, no tree.

That is, until this year. I am happy to announce that I actually set up my first (grown-up) Christmas tree and have been enjoying every bit of its twinkling, shimmering, holly, jolly glow for the better part of the past two weeks. And surprisingly, nary a cat nor kid has wreaked any sort of havoc on it. The Christmas miracle is alive and well, I can tell you firsthand. Last night after I tucked my kids into their respective beds and made my merry way to the couch, where I planned on doing a whole lot of nothing for the next couple of hours, I found myself mesmerized by this tree … looking completely lovely in its little nook of the room … “brighten the corner where you are,” and all. It was my parent’s tree, and they so kindly passed it along to us this year, since they have another one to enjoy. I suppose they figured that their 2 trees to my 0 trees made for a very uneven score, so they generously helped to even out the playing field by gifting one to us (Thanks guys!). It is filled to the brim (to the branch?) with ornaments that were handmade by my Grandmother, Nora, and that have been the objects of my greatest affection since I was very small. In fact, after my living loves and maybe my cast iron pan, they are the things that I would save in the event of a fire. What’s more, the soft glow of the Christmas tree provides my house with the exact right amount of light to allow for ample vision (important, I suppose) while also somehow blurring the scars and mess and less than ideal marks and smudges on the floor that somehow always seem to escape my cleaning. The light from the Christmas tree somehow magically washes all of those things away, and the room just looks perfect, peaceful. Again, with the Christmas miracles … Continue reading