Sweets

To my husband…

Today is my husband’s birthday. The most used sentence or thought that runs along the lines of, “I don’t know what I would do without you…” couldn’t be truer in our relationship. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. He has gotten me through some tough moments in my life.

There are times when I think that he saved me from a bad situation when I was coping with a toxic family. He was the only one that took the time to understand me and genuinely cared about what I was going through. I have never met anyone else like that. Someone that is so kind and patient. He gave himself completely to me on the nights where I was curled up in ball on the bathroom floor contemplating suicide. He helped me out of that dark hole with his love and kindness. I will always be thankful for that.

So today is for him. Life can get in the way sometimes and it’s hard to stop and remember that we have loving people in our lives. It’s important to take the time to remember that. I have a loving husband and friend by my side for the rest of my life which is pretty amazing.

So, Happy Birthday my love. May this coming year bring you joy, growth and success, for you deserve it. Love always, your kitten.

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake

By. Lady and Pups

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

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Christmas Time is Here (Julia Child’s croissants with cranberry jam filling)

I will always remember that Christmas.

That time of year is back again and I can already feel the anxiety setting in. There are times when I can’t help but think about the past. Especially about the time I opened up to my adoptive father about being sexually abused as a child.

Christmas time when I was a younger was all that I waited for with every passing year. I remember decorating the house till every room was filled with some sort of tinsel or sparkling lights. I cherished every second of it. You couldn’t stop me from dancing to the Grinch soundtrack with The Who’s singing “Trim up the tree with Christmas fluff…” That time of year was magical for me. Over the years it unfortunately lost its sense of innocence. That Christmas when I told my father about being abused left me raw and alone. I will always remember that Christmas.

The week before Christmas I had to say goodbye to my husband. We were both celebrating the holiday with our families, me in Virginia and him in Florida. He was my boyfriend at the time, but I still found it difficult to leave him. Maybe it was because I knew that I could confined in him about being abused. As soon as I made it back to VA with my adoptive parents I felt this sense of gloom over the house. Before entering the house that I grew up in, I looked up at it and all the memories of being abused flooded in. How I stayed in that house for years, I still don’t know how.

When Christmas Day came along I kept on contemplating if I was going to tell my father or not. My mother who already knew and saw me get abused said, “It’s up to you Bernadette.” I had to build up my courage throughout the day until by 8 pm or so I sat my father down and told him.

The moment went by so quickly. All I remember is him saying a joke afterwards about me being abused and him getting me a wet wash cloth to wash away my tears. That’s how it was with them. They think by washing away the problems that they will magically disappear. That method never works.

Now, that I am estranged from them, I can’t help but feel that Christmas has to be perfect. It’s not healthy to think that way and I’m slowly working on it. Even though this year has been tough in so many ways politically, socially and personally,  I have a loving husband. I have a silly dog and a new family in my husband’s family. I have met new people who I can consider real friends. I know that 2018 will be better. I know this because I will keep on trying to live for me and not for the family I grew up with.

Julia Child’s Croissants

Volume Two of Mastering the Art of French Cooking 

By Julia Child and Simone Beck 

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 1/4 tsp. of yeast

3 tbsp. of warm water (100 degrees)

1 tsp. of sugar

Second half of recipe

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tsp. of sugar

1 1/2 tsp. of salt

2/3 cup of warm milk

2 tbsp. of canola oil

1 3/4 sticks of chilled unsalted butter 

Cranberry Jam

Makes 3/4 cup

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

Pinch of pepper and salt

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

1/3 cup of fresh orange juice

1/2 cup of water

 

Croissant Recipe: Equivalent version of croissant recipe. Here is a video of the master herself making some croissants on the show the French Chef.

Directions for Cranberry Jam:

  1. Throughly wash the cranberries, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a medium size sauce pan, add all the ingredients and stir on medium to high heat until it starts to simmer.
  3. Once it comes to a simmer, turn down the heat between low and medium. Stirring frequently for 15 minutes or until the jam comes to the wrinkle stage.
  4. Once the jam has come to the wrinkle stage, take off the heat and cool for five minutes.
  5. Pour the jam mixture through a fine mesh sieve with a glass bowl underneath to catch the jam. Do this with a spoon and patience. This should take about 10 minutes to get all the mixture through.
  6. Cool the jam in a glass jar and leave in fridge until ready to use. Keeps up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

Rich Hot Chocolate

I have never been one to be deeply in love with Chocolate or find it sensual. Yet, I try to work with it in recipes every now and then in hopes that it might change my way of thinking.

I’m currently sitting on my couch listening to Christmas music. The Sleigh ride song to be exact and I am craving to get my holiday fever on. So, to start the season off right, I wanted to share my hot chocolate recipe. It’s quick and not to toot my own horn, but it’s by far the best hot chocolate I have ever had.

Rich Hot Chocolate

Makes 2 small glasses (or 1 huge one)

Ingredients1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 cup of almond milk

2 tbsp. of condensed milk

1-2 tsp. of cocoa powder

1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream

3.5 oz of 70% smooth dark chocolate (Lindt Chocolate )

Directions:

1. In a small sauce pan add water to fill halfway and set on medium to high heat.

2. In a heat proof bowl melt the chocolate over the sauce pan. Add the chocolate gradually by medium size pieces until it fully melts.

3. Set aside and dump the water from the sauce pan and add the follow ingredients on medium heat. Almond milk, condensed milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon and 1 tsp. of vanilla.

4. Once the mixture has heated up a bit and starts to simmer add the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. Set on low heat while making the whip cream.

5. In a standing mixer or hand held mixer mix 1/2 cup of the heavy whipping cream with a tsp. of vanilla. Mix until fluffy.

6. Serve the hot chocolate in small mugs or one huge mug for yourself with a ton of whip cream on top.

Enjoy!

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

Mascot Grape Sorbet with Toasted Graham topping 

  Photography by. Bernadette Mira

The past couple of weeks have kind of been a blur. With the ups and downs, I try to remember the ups rather than the downs. It’s easier to get through the day trying to remember the positive things in life. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

So for today’s recipe, I unfortunately don’t have much to say or  have an insightful anecdote. I guess, remember that even through this tough time, in this difficult and painful world that love still exists. If we all remember that and strive for a better world, perhaps maybe it will happen. I’m truly cynical as person, but deep down I still believe the world can be better someday.

 

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Mascot Grape Sorbet

Ingredients 

1 pound of Mascot Grapes

2 tsp. of Pinot Grigio wine

pinch of nutmeg

1/2  14 oz can of condensed milk

Graham Cracker Topping

Ingredients

Two original graham crackers 

2 tbsp. of good butter

sprinkle of cinnamon 

pinch of sugar

pinch of sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. In a food processor add 1/2 of the grapes and mix until combined.
  2. Then with a cheese cloth or fine strainer, strain the grape juice into a separate bowl while leaving the seeds and pulp behind.
  3. Once all the juice has been strained add it into the food processor again while incorporating the 1/2 can of condensed milk, nutmeg and pinot grigio. Mix until well combined. Then set aside.
  4. Heat up a medium size sauce pan on low to medium heat and add the other half of the grapes to the pan.
  5. Once it starts to simmer, start squashing the grapes with a wooden spoon to get out the juice. When all the grapes have been squashed, cover the pan for five minutes on low heat to simmer.
  6. After five minutes, strain the juice into a separate bowl.
  7. Once all the juice has been strained add it to the food processor with the first mixture. (Should get about 1/2 -3/4 cup of juice from this)
  8. Pulse the mixture together until fully combined.
  9. Then pour the mixture in a tightly sealed container and freeze over night.
  10. Extra step:(Not necessary) The next day add the sorbet to the food processor and blend again and freeze again for another day.
  11. To prepare the graham cracker topping, heat up a non stick pan to medium to high heat and add 2 tbsp. of butter.
  12. While the pan is heating up finely crumble up two graham crackers then add them to the pan.
  13. With a wooden spoon stir the graham crackers into the butter while adding the cinnamon, sugar and sea salt.
  14. Once the graham crackers have turned slightly browner for about 2-5 minutes, take the pan off the heat and pour the graham cracker mixture into a separate bowl. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Then serve on top of the sorbet. Enjoy!

 

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candle

 

Longing for kitten… (a blackberry fig jam recipe) 

             

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

I grew up with the sheer luck of having at least seven cats at different times through out my childhood. Living in the country these cats tended to roam around the house and in the outside world, which led to most of them ghosting away and never coming back. Yet, there was always another cat to take it’s spot. All of those cats weren’t officially mine and at times I longed for a cat to be only mine that I could take care of.

Yet, there was one exception. A cat we had named Cheeseball who belonged to my middle sister, seemed to grow fond of me over the years. Like my estranged family they ignored most of the pets we had around the house so I watched over Cheeseball like he was my own.

cheeseball

I remember taking photo shoots of Cheeseball, like he was a dashing model posing for every shot. Surprisingly he was quiet patient when it came to me taking photos of him. There were many mornings that I would come out of the bathroom shower and have him greet me at my feet. But if I didn’t pay every bit attention to him he would bite at my legs until I gave him a pat or kiss.

After moving away to go to musical theatre school in New York when I was 20, Cheeseball ended up running off to the neighbor’s house, because my family didn’t take care of him. Every time I would come back home to visit I would long for him to come over to the house, yet he never would. There were many moments when he would just stare at me from afar. It was hard watching him from a distance and not being able to reach him. I miss him still. I’m sure he is off in cat land somewhere chasing the sun and eating to his heart’s content.

I still long for a cat though. A kitten to raise. Maybe it’s because I can’t have children…? I don’t know, but I hope that I can be a mother figure to a kitten one day and give it all the affection in the world. Taking care of something and watching it grow is the most joyful I have ever been.

cat3

Blackberry Fig Jam

Makes one 16 oz. can

Ingredients

1 cup of blackberries

2/3 cup of finely diced figs (about 3 figs)

3 tbsp and 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar 

1 cup of water 

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

1/4 tsp. of coriander 

1/2 tsp. of lemon zest

juice from half of a lemon

1/4 cup of cold water

2 tsp. of cornstarch 

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Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, add the blackberries, figs, sugar and water and set on medium to high heat till it starts to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Stirring  frequently for about five minutes.
  2. Lower the temperature to low heat and add the spices and lemon zest.
  3. Stir for two minutes until the spices dissolve.
  4. Raise the temperature again to medium heat and add the lemon zest. Let the jam simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. After ten minutes, add 2 tsp. of cornstarch to the cup of cold water and stir completely until the starch dissolves. Then add the starch mixture to the jam.
  6. Stir the mixture into the jam. After a while the jam will start to thicken. Continue to stir for five minutes or so.
  7. After five minutes set the jam mixture off to the side to cool for ten minutes.
  8. After ten minutes, use the immersion blender and blend until the chunks of blackberries have liquified.
  9. Gently pour the jam into a heat safe container, such as a maison jar and close with a tight lid and set in the fridge to cool.

Enjoy this jam along side a creamy hunk of brie and toast.

 

030cheeseball and i

 

 

 

Almond Oatmeal Cookies

cookie lady

Photography by. Connor Langford(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Zoe Hoad

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This past weekend was a weekend that I had been dreading for a while. The week before Mother’s Day was a trying one. I couldn’t keep my head together. I felt all over the place and noticed myself slipping back into past negative patterns. To forewarn any of my readers that have a past of child sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse, etc. and are triggered by such things, please don’t read further. I want this to be a safe place to come to and I wouldn’t want to harm you in any way.

Not to be dramatic, but at times I do see my past as a very unfortunate, sad story that should be told through film. It is one of those stories that make you do a double take. At times I find it unbelievable myself and I always question if there was anything else that I could have done, but the answer is always no. None of it was my fault or responsiblity.

glasses on box

The Marshman’s…

glass glass

There was this old photograph that my adoptive father took of all five of us children. I was a baby at the time and I think they just had me for maybe a few weeks or so. I was laid in the middle of my childhood blanket while the other children poked my belly and touched my face and surrounded every part of me. That picture truly describes the experience I felt living with them. Living in the Marshman household, dealing with sexual abuse from two of my siblings for four years, I felt trapped.

The moment that could have probably shifted my life entirely was when my adoptive mother saw my brother on top of me. After that moment, she knew for years that I was getting sexually abused, but said nothing. When I decided to finally come to terms with what I had been through as child, I went to her first. Her response was simply put, “I figured that was going on.”

The word ‘RUN’ should have come to me, but it didn’t. I didn’t want to be alone, so for years I tried to get my adoptive family to understand what I had been through. They still made excuses for my abusers and their actions. Such things like, “Your selfish and a bitch.” “It was a three age year difference, so it doesn’t matter that it happened.” “Come back in 20 years!” were said through the six-year course of me trying to get them to understand and be supportive.

Yes, all of them let me down, but my adoptive mother let me down the most. Being abandoned by the woman who gave birth to me, still left scars, but in a way I can disregard her, because I never knew her. Yet, having my adoptive mother abandoned me when she saw me get abused, hurts me to the core.

Not all Mothers are wonderful. Not all parents should be parents. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day shouldn’t be celebrated. We honestly should celebrate the decent parents out there every single day that we can. Acknowledging the good out there is important and it’s also important to acknowledge the bad. My adoptive parents shouldn’t have adopted five kids and brought us up in a toxic, sexually tensioned, dysfunctional environment. Unfortunately, I’m not the only case out there. Sibling sexual abuse is the most common but the least talked about. We need to talk about it. We need to share these stories to help others.

It’s important…to get myself through Mother’s Day, I was there for myself and celebrated my loving husband and my mother in law. My mother in law is the definition of what a good mother, a good parent should be. She is strong, caring and supportive. I am thankful that I have that now. I wish that for every child out there if not now for later on in their lives.

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Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 24

Ingredients

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 cup of dark brown sugar

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. of almond extract

1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of sea salt

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon 

2 1/2 cup of oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. With a standing mixer cream butter and sugars together at medium-high speed. Once fully mixed, add two eggs and the extracts to the sugar mixture. Mix until combine and set aside.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the following dry ingredients until mixed. Flour, sea salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  4. Then slowly add the dry mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the wet ingredients in the standing mixer. Set the standing mixer on medium-high speed.
  5. Once the flour is incorporated, add the 2 1/2 cups of oats and mix into dough, until fully combined.
  6. Once finished lightly coat a cookie pan with cooking spray. Place the cookies one a time with a spoon, leaving a few inches in between them.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F. or longer as desired. Once finished baking, let the cookies cool on the pan for 3-5 minutes then with a spatula transfer to a plate.
  8. Yields 24 medium-sized cookies.

Enjoy!!!!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira

and

Styling cubes by. Garrett Hagen

Blueberry Protein Blaster

protien smoothie

Photography by. Mario Testino and styled by Lucinda Chambers(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Cara Delevingne

Normally I don’t use this page to moan, but I’m sorry I must.  If you don’t enjoy reading ‘bitchy’ posts that are along the line of being pointless, please feel free to scroll on down to the recipe.

This morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The first thing I do before I get up is that I check my phone, you know, what most people do nowadays. I was kindly informed that the letter I posted in the apartment building that I live in, that I was wrong for doing that.  For a little back story, it’s been a year since someone has come to clean the building. Normally it was done on a regular basis. You know, IF the board of the building is paying some one for those types of things, then they should be arriving to do so. But of course any fuckhead could say, “Well, no one will know the difference if I don’t show up and clean, so why should I show up?” It’s been like this for the past year and it has been infuriating to say the least. I decided to take matters into my own hands (literally) and have been cleaning the building on and off.

Now, I have to talk to someone because SOMEBODY told on me for posting the kind letter that was along the lines of, “Please keep the area clean when you can, because no one has been arriving to clean the building.”

This isn’t important, but to be honest it put a damper on my day. I decided to roll along with the punches and create the recipe I planned for today anyway. I’ll be sure to get all this frustration out tonight once I head to kickboxing. There’s nothing like kicking the shit out of a punching bag.

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Blueberry Protein Blaster

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

1 cup of frozen blueberries

2/3 cup of blackberries

1-2 kiwis chopped fine

4 tbsp. of vanilla protein powder

4 blueberry ice cubes (add two-three blueberries to water and freeze overnight in ice-cube tray)

1 cup of water or coconut water

Extra:

Raw Coconut to serve smoothie in

Blender

Straws 

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend the shit out of it. (You really want the mixture to be super creamy.)
  2. Add the protein smoothie mixture to a cup, bowl or even a raw coconut.

Enjoy after a hard workout!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira