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Monday, July 21, 2014

Food Experiments::: Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread


Hi Friends! I'm finally sharing the recipe I made for the last thing I did in baking school - hooray! It turned out really yummy but I discovered that as a loaf it can be a bit crumbly. It worked best as muffins or mini-muffins. Also, all the measurements are in ounces. Which if you have a kitchen scale is really the best way to get consistent results, but if you don't have a kitchen scale, there's this handy conversion site you can use.

Ingredients:::

5oz.         Almond Flour
.25oz       Baking Soda
2oz.         Raw Cocoa Powder
.35oz.      Cinnamon
.05oz.      Salt
4fl oz.      Finely Grated Zucchini
2.5fl oz.   Whole Egg {room temp}
2fl oz.      Unsweetened Apple Sauce
2fl oz.      Ghee Oil {clarified butter}
.2fl oz.     Vanilla Extract
3fl oz.      Honey
.15fl oz.   Apple Cider Vinegar
4oz.         Walnuts {chopped}
4oz.         Chocolate Pieces {dark, w/o soy lecithin}


Instructions:::

In a bowl, mix the almond flour with baking soda, cacao powder, ground cinnamon and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg then mix in apple sauce, Ghee oil, vanilla, honey and apple cider vinegar.

Make sure all is well combined.

Stir in grated zucchini, chopped nuts and chocolate pieces.

Using a rubber spatula, gently mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Do not over mix batter.

Spoon the batter into an 8½ x 4½-inch medium loaf pan lined with parchment paper {or muffin tins lined with cups} and bake at 350°F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

{{{All images copyright Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard}}}

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Featured Artist::: Jasmin Dwyer

Hey Everyone!

On a side note before we talk about today's artist, I wanted to let you all know that starting next week The Beard will be taking over the Featured Artist post series! Woo hoo!!! Get prepared for much more thought provoking work - Greg really knows his stuff.

We have a special artist today, Jasmin Dwyer, an emerging artist who lives in the UK. Jasmin approached me about featuring her artwork on YB+YB and I was so impressed by her initiative how could I possibly say no? Quite a few of us can relate to the struggle of building an online presence, right? But of course I wouldn't have said no to her anyways because her work is very interesting.

"I'm a London based illustrator and artist from Australia. I create bittersweet imagery where the tangible and make believe meet. I have been making pictures for as long as I can remember. If I'm not making or thinking about making what I consider to be beautiful things I start to panic. I'm influenced by lots of things, the whole world inspires me. Everything just sort of soaks in and I try to notice small things, I like to look for beautiful things in ugly places. It's easy in London, some parts of London are really ugly. My work combines features of abstract art and geometric design with contemporary approaches to illustration. With a background in Fine Art I enjoy working with traditional materials such as acrylic, pastel, chalk and ink to create vibrant, layered colour. A recent move towards printmaking has allowed me to work closely with fusing detailed and refined illustrative work with the conventional approaches I've been practicing for many years. The process has been very rewarding." - Jasmin Dwyer

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July/Aug Healthy Eating Challenge

Hey Friends!

Being in baking school totally threw of my healthy eating habits. So starting today I'm doing another 4 week challenge like we did before of not eating any processed sugar except on one treat day per week. We've got a group of ladies participating on Instagram so if you'd like to join you can use the hashtag #ybybhec {Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard Healthy Eating Challenge}. However you definitely don't have to be on Instagram to join in. Just leave a comment below with your email and I'll include you on the tips I share over the next 4 weeks.

I hope your week is off to a good start! Do you have anything out of the ordinary happening this week?

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Changing Lanes Again

{{{Quote source unknown}}}


As I come to you this morning I'm feeling very raw and vulnerable. My biggest fear is that you'll see me as flaky, unreliable, a quitter or worst of all a failure. I'm afraid because I don't believe I am any of those things but I think it might be difficult for me to communicate my thoughts and reasoning eloquently, or even logically.

After several weeks of careful consideration, prayers, painful conversations and many tears I've decided to hang up my chef coat and retire from baking school. I know, you can't possibly be serious, right?

The list of reasons to drop out is quite long so I'll try to be succinct. First of all, I've always been very impulsive, occasionally to a fault {if you follow me on social media you may have started picking up on this train of thought last week}. When I originally started thinking about going to baking school it was more of a curiosity. But then my casual information request turned into a meeting with an admissions counselor, an immediate acceptance, and a class that started two weeks later. At the time I thought that was a sign that things were lining up in my favor. However, looking back on it, that was actually me allowing myself to be carried along on a whim without being prudent and really researching what I was getting myself into. I should have talked to someone who had been through the program {duh}, I should have talked to someone who works in the baking/pastry industry {duh}. If I had done those logical things I would have realized then that baking school wasn't for me. When I thought to myself that a career in baking was the way to go I didn't think about the fact that what I enjoy about baking is making a small batch of something fun then playing and photographing it and moving on. Making the same thing over and over, day in and day out, not getting to play with styling or photographing it and not even getting to choose what the product is most of the time or tinkering with the recipe isn't appealing to me at all. I started realizing these things within the first 6 weeks of school but wanted to give myself time to process, experience and not make another rushed decision. So you might be thinking to yourself right now that those are pretty obvious thought processes that I should have gone through a long time ago. Before any paperwork was signed. Well you're right. As I said, I can be outrageously impulsive when I get excited about something.

Another big reason is finances. Going back to school and not really making any money leaves the entirety of our financial obligations on The Beard's shoulders. That's totally not fair of me and it's also turning out to be not very feasible either. And on a similar note, being in school has left me feeling a bit "useless" if you will. Like I'm not contributing anything to our lifestyle. There are other reasons, but they're not as significant for us to talk about right now.

On the topic of failure, this is not a cover for that. These are not excuses. I have earned higher grades on what I've completed of this program than I have earned in anything else in my whole life. I've received very humbling and flattering compliments from the chefs I've worked with. And in fact, the chef I spoke to today about my decision said he supported my decision based on my reasons but was sad to see me go because I've been one of the best students he's seen in a long time. He said I'm very talented. Forgive me if that sounds like boasting. I don't intend to boast, just convey that I wouldn't give up on a dream because it's difficult. I'm willing to work hard when it's something I care deeply about.

For those of you who contributed to my campaign I desperately hope you won't think it was a waste. This experience has been invaluable to me. I've learned more than I thought I would and not just about baking. It might seem a bit far fetched, but The Beard and I were thinking it's possible this whole adventure could have been so he could get the professorship he has now. It was a job he swore up and down couldn't be found in this city right now for someone like him. But it was a conversation I had with the head chef about my struggles with the program that led to him offering The Beard that very position. And if it was all for that, I'm happy. I'm happy with my decision to drop out as well. It was a hard decision and I do feel sad about it, I've been kicking myself for making poor decisions in the first place, but this time I think I've been more prudent. No more leaping without looking. No more diving head first.

Well I guess that brings us to what I'm going to do now. As you saw yesterday, my shops are re-opened which I'm very excited about. I've missed them. I'm also continuing to look into working for Mary Kay {something I've been considering since April}. And I'm considering the options for a third part time job as well. I know that sounds like a lot but with all the processing I've been doing recently it's become clear that I'm too adventurous and multi-talented to be tied down to any one career. I don't want to be trapped. I have many skills and passions and I hope to be able to do many things that exercise all those gifts. We'll see how those things evolve but what I'm liking most about this plan right now is the flexibility and freedom it will afford me while still getting to do things I enjoy and more importantly contribute to our financial situation.

So here I am again with another big F you to societal norms and traditional expectations. I believe in not only doing something to make money but doing something that makes you happy. If that takes me the rest of my life to figure out so be it. I'd rather change careers 100 times then do something that makes me miserable for 30 years. I also believe in myself. Course correction is not failure.

Thanks friends for enduring this novel of a post. I hope I haven't given you whiplash with my roller-coaster life. I might be unpredictable with a side of crazy, but it's always a guaranteed good time!



Monday, July 7, 2014

OPEN

Happy Monday Friends!

Both my shops are open once again! Hooray! I just couldn't stay away.


{{{... Etsy ... Storenvy ... }}}


Sunday, July 6, 2014

June In Instagrams





{{{All images copyright Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard | @janeelookerse}}}


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Now & Then

A long time ago there was a Now & Then game circulating the blogosphere. A few of the lovely ladies I follow {Corina and Trina} inspired me to do my own. It's taken me forever to get the post up, but better late than never, right? The adorable designs are by Corina as well.


Now: 2014, Age 27   ///   Then: 2000, Age 13




{{{Designs by Corina}}}



Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Faves

Two Friday posts in a row? I've become a terrible blogger. But hey, at least it's the weekend {and the first day of summer}!


{{{ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 }}}


Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Faves

I'm going to make another attempt at a Friday Faves series. Let's see how long I can stick with it this time      ::: wink wink :::


{{{ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 }}}


Monday, June 9, 2014

This Is Where I Belong | A Love Letter

Good Afternoon Friends!

Recently my sweet friend Courtney from Holdfast Printworks asked me if I'd like to take part in a campaign she's starting. She said she'd need me to take a photo of myself wearing one of her {*fabulous*} new "this is where i belong" tanks in a location that is just that. I of course freaked out and immediately said yes. I've never felt I belonged anywhere the way I feel like I belong in Boston. 


It's really hard for me to eloquently express what it is about this city that I love to much and feel so connected to. I'm going to give it a shot though because this seems like a perfect time.

Before moving to Boston in June 2012 I had never been to the city. But that didn't bother me. I've always had a leap-without-looking, jump with both feet, go hard personality. Plus I have always wanted east coast seasons, especially winters. When I told people The Beard and I were moving here the most common response I got was "Oh, you're going to love it there! I can totally see you living there". Maybe this is a bit mystical or weird but as soon as I entered the city I was in love. I'd barely been here an hour when I knew I'd never want to leave. I knew this was home - where I belong.

I wasn't happy where we lived before, I didn't have an emotional connection to any of the cities I've lived in previously. Especially the last place we lived right before moving here. I felt stifled, like there was so much more I could be and do but didn't have the means to reach my potential. Mentally, physically and emotionally. I felt so trapped. But all that changed when we moved here. I felt free. I found courage and confidence in myself that I always knew was there but didn't know how to access. I tried things I never thought I'd try, I've accomplished things I never would've dreamed I was capable of.

Boston is beautiful. In terms of location, architecture, entertainment, nature, culture, weather, etc. It's stunning. If you follow my Instagram or Twitter feeds you know what I mean. From my first day here I've been obsessed. I can't get enough!

And maybe the most important aspect of all, I have friends here. All my life I've had one or two close girlfriends but that's about it. When we first got here Gabi introduced me to Boston Bloggers - the most amazing group of women ever. Now I have a whole bunch of girlfriends to call my own. I love them so much. They are a large part of what makes this city home for me.





All of this is not to say that life is perfect and nothing ever goes wrong. I have my share of bad days and weeks and I've made more than my share of bad decisions. But I've never felt as happy and peaceful as I do here. I'm so incredibly thankful for every minute I get to live here.

Boston, you are bizarre and you are lovely. You have my heart, my home sweet home!

{{{All images copyright Yellow Bird + Yellow Beard}}}