I’m growing things! Which might not seem like a revolutionary discovery to you, but historically I’m not the best with plants. About three years ago I decided as part of another project to grow lemons (see my lemon project). I planted 5 lemon seeds, 4 spouted and 3 are currently still growing in buckets on the patio. Getting lemons to grow from seeds was a huge turning point for me in my horticultural life because I had achieved success! (success is relative here, those plants won’t give me lemons for another 15 years.. check back with me then and we’ll redefine success) Since then, I want to grow more. I have all of these grand ideas of the gardens I’ll have and the vegetables I’ll pick and cook for dinner. The only problem is: I live in an apartment. A dark one too. I decided to take a chance and do some plastic tub gardening to see if this could be a viable growing option for those with limited space. So far, so GREAT! I planted (from left to right in the top picture) carrots, broccoli and peas. I started them in egg cartons and then transferred them to a bucket I had drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. I have no idea what is going to happen from here but I already have one pea so that’s saving me like 1/20th a trip to the grocery store. Boom! Nature. Is. Awesome.

More tiny baking! In addition to the tiny pie pans I used previous (see my earlier basil peach pie photo) I am borrowing tiny bundt pans and tiny layer cake pans. Everything looks more adorable when it’s tiny, am I right? I attempted to make a vegan blueberry bundt cake with a lemon glaze and a vegan vanilla layer cake with chocolate and peanut butter chips and chocolate frosting. I got a request to post the recipe for the pies and any other food images I put up but I’m not going to for this one only because I wasn’t super happy with the way the cake texture actually came out. I feel confident in my pie making abilities but my cakes need some work. I’ll post a recipe when I feel like I’ve nailed it!

Last weekend I visited my family in Pittsburgh for my cousin’s gender reveal party (she’s having a boy!). It’s nice to go back and visit because Pittsburgh has a special place in my heart and I have the chance to see both sides of my extended family when I go. While sitting on my grandma’s porch, I noticed the tree that has always been right in front of the house nestled between the porch and the sidewalk. This might be the first time I’ve ever really looked at the tree. I mean, it’s always been there and I don’t picture her house without it, but I’ve never really stopped to look at the blossoms. What interesting and awesome shapes the buds are before they bloom. My aunt pointed out that this is a Mountain Laurel— the state flower of Pennsylvania. I felt like a horrible native Pennsylvanian for never knowing that this was what the state flower really looked like. I always knew it by name, but couldn’t tell you what it actually looked like. Now I’m showing you! Well done, Pennsylvania!

Last weekend I visited my family in Pittsburgh for my cousin’s gender reveal party (she’s having a boy!). It’s nice to go back and visit because Pittsburgh has a special place in my heart and I have the chance to see both sides of my extended family when I go. While sitting on my grandma’s porch, I noticed the tree that has always been right in front of the house nestled between the porch and the sidewalk. This might be the first time I’ve ever really looked at the tree. I mean, it’s always been there and I don’t picture her house without it, but I’ve never really stopped to look at the blossoms. What interesting and awesome shapes the buds are before they bloom. My aunt pointed out that this is a Mountain Laurel— the state flower of Pennsylvania. I felt like a horrible native Pennsylvanian for never knowing that this was what the state flower really looked like. I always knew it by name, but couldn’t tell you what it actually looked like. Now I’m showing you! Well done, Pennsylvania!

I brought home two peaches the other day and just as they were starting to get a little too ripe, I baked them into two of the most adorable tiny pies maybe… ever. I think there should be more tiny pies in the world. This one is a super fantastic vegan peach basil pie recipe with an olive oil crust that is simply delicious.

I brought home two peaches the other day and just as they were starting to get a little too ripe, I baked them into two of the most adorable tiny pies maybe… ever. I think there should be more tiny pies in the world. This one is a super fantastic vegan peach basil pie recipe with an olive oil crust that is simply delicious.

This is Gretta and these are her goats. Her amazing adorable wonderful outstanding stupendous marvelous phenomenal radical terrific unreal smashing fantastic goats.

My friend Breana Moeller is an amazing food stylist. She baked this oh-so-delicious cake for her niece as a ‘smash cake.’ Unfortunately for the cake its sole purpose was to be smashed on a one year old’s birthday. At least I caught it pre-smashing

My friend Breana Moeller is an amazing food stylist. She baked this oh-so-delicious cake for her niece as a ‘smash cake.’ Unfortunately for the cake its sole purpose was to be smashed on a one year old’s birthday. At least I caught it pre-smashing

The other day I made a vegan vegetable curry pot pie with a sweet potato crust. It was delicious and I will for SURE make it again. I am also deeply in love with my tiny cast iron skillet.

The other day I made a vegan vegetable curry pot pie with a sweet potato crust. It was delicious and I will for SURE make it again. I am also deeply in love with my tiny cast iron skillet.

How I survived the Polar Vortex:

1. Use a laser to play with your cat at some odd hour of the night. Lay on the floor as you do it, it’s an entertaining angle.

2. Go outside to make sure it really is as cold as everyone says it is. Don’t stay out longer than 3 minutes though or you’re fingers will feel like they’re falling off.

3. Make banana bread with the over ripe bananas you’ve been keeping in your freezer (teaser picture!)

4. Haven’t you been drying peppers in your kitchen for like months now? Maybe you should do something with them.

5. Venture outside long enough to make maple snow taffy (or just scoop the snow onto a tray and pour the maple syrup indoor because let’s face it, you’re apartment is pretty cold anyway so that snow isn’t going anywhere.)

And maybe, one you’ve finished these steps the temperature will climb to something above 0.¬†

Maybe.

My photos from the Tasting Table Open Market featured on Ask Miss A’s blog!

My weekend. This Friday and Saturday I had the chance to photograph   Open Market. It brought together some of Chicago’s most incredible chefs and food enthusiasts. A truly spectacular event to experience!

My weekend. This Friday and Saturday I had the chance to photograph¬† Tasting Table's Open Market. It brought together some of Chicago’s most incredible chefs and food enthusiasts. A truly spectacular event to experience!