Sweets

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Almond Oatmeal Cookies

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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.

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The Marshman’s…

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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

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Styling cubes by. Garrett Hagen

Blueberry Protein Blaster

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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

Sugary Cinnamon Coffee

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Photography by. Nicole Heiniger (Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Luma Grothe

This coming week is going to be, go, Go, GO! It seems the more I become accustomed to Jersey City, the busier I am, which I am totally okay with. My social circle is growing and I am finding things during the day to keep my wheels rolling.

Before the sun was about to go down, I quickly pulled my camera equipment together, turned on some Carole King for the mood and decided to make a lovely, sugary drink.   I made it for my husband, since if I drink even a couple of sips of coffee, I go coo-koo. I got the inspiration for the drink from Nicole Heiniger’s editorial shoot of the ‘Fashion Cow-Girl. Please take the time to look at the many photos from this shoot, you won’t regret it.

Enjoy today’s recipe for breakfast or even for a quick pick me up during the day.

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Sugary Cinnamon Coffee Drink

Serves 1-2

Ingredients 

2-3 tbsp. of coffee beans Counter Culture Brand

2 tbsp. of brown sugar

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

1/8 tsp. of nutmeg

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup of whole milk 

Extra:

Coffee Grinder

Tea Kettle 

2 cup French Press

milk frother 

Ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Prepare cold brewed ice coffee the night before or day of. Add desired mug filled with 4-5 ice cubes into the freezer to freeze while making drink recipe.
  2. Then with your coffee grinder, grind up 2-3 tbsp. of whole coffee beans.
  3. Then move the ground coffee to the French Press and start boiling  two cups of water.
  4. While the water is boiling, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt together with a fork. Then set aside.
  5. Once the water has come to a full boil, carefully pour two cups of hot water to your french press.
  6. Stir the coffee around with a fork or chopstick (I highly recommend the chopstick, because it won’t ding the side of the french press.)
  7. Once the coffee is stirred around, add a quick drip of the liquid (about 2 tbsp.) to the sugar mixture till it creates a creamy paste.
  8. Wait for 5 to 7 minutes to press down the coffee in the french press.
  9. While waiting, add the sugar mixture and combined it to a 1/2 cup of whole milk. Then pour into a small glass and set aside in the fridge to cool.
  10. By the 7th minute press down the coffee in the french press.
  11. Then add your coffee to the prepared ice mug. Add about 1/2-1 cup of coffee then add 1/3 cup of the milk/sugar mixture.
  12. Another added step to this recipe is to create a foam top. You will need a milk frother for this or some really mad beating skills–don’t take that a dirty way. Anyway, a milk frother is really handy, especially if you want to create latte art. If you have a milk frother, you may add 1/2-1 cup of coffee to your desired mug, then add 1/4 cup of some of the milk then use the rest of the milk to froth up with the milk frother. Then gently pour it on top once it is to the desired texture of your liking.

Enjoy!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira 

Tropical Swirl Smoothie Bowl

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Photography by. Nick Hudson(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Ajak Deng

While I sit here listening to Pandora on the African Radio station, I can’t help but wish that I could travel to a different land. I think that’s what I enjoy most about cooking/baking and learning new techniques from different cultures. I can automatically transport myself to a different place by trying to recreate a dish from somewhere far off.

Today was my day off, so I opted for something simple and refreshing before I take on the evening at kickboxing class tonight. I wanted to add a squeeze of lime to the dish, because the sad, shriveled lime that was left in the back of the fridge was calling to be used. This dish may transport you from cold, slushy, snowy NYC to a tropical island. Where you can hear howler monkeys off in the distance and then watch the sun slowly fade behind the ocean range.

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Tropical Swirl Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

Ingredients

Bottom part

2 ripe bananas

1/3 cup of Greek yogurt(optional)

1 juice from half of a lime

3-4 ice cubes

1/3-1/2 cup of coconut water

Top Part

5-6 Frozen strawberries

3 ice cubes

1/3 cup of chopped frozen pineapple

1/3-1/2 cup of coconut water

Toppings

Chia Seeds

Grated Milk Chocolate 

Directions:

  1. Gather your ingredients and blend the bottom layer first in a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the bottom layer first to your bowl of your choosing. Then blend together the top layer till smooth.
  3. Once the top layer is smooth, add it to the bottom layer and swirl together.
  4. Add toppings of your choosing. I used chia seeds for protein and milk chocolate by Nathan Miller.

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Photo by. Bernadette Mira

A lovely Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

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Photography by. Bernadette Mira Hagen

Where do I even begin when it seems like decades since I have written down my musings and even a recipe!? So much has happened this past year and even just this current year. You know what I mean…dare I even speak his name? It’s like the evil, demonic Voldemort in Harry Potter. Maybe if all pans out well, all of America will rally together and we will put an end to him. Maybe WordPress isn’t the best place to discuss this, but I want to be candid.

Before 2017 began, I got married back on November the 5th. It was nothing huge, just a few family and friends. I wanted to make it special for my husband and I. We have for the past almost six years we’ve been together have had to deal with my deceased family for many reasons. Dont worry, they’re not dead, just very toxic to have as a family. Anyway, in my head I wanted needed the wedding to be perfect to make up for their absence. Which puts so much pressure on a person to do EVERY SINGLE THING RIGHT. To my surprise though, the wedding was and has been the most perfect, magical day of my life so far.

Quickly after that, America was on their feet to the surprise of HIM winning the election. So, this past year I have done a tremendous amount of thinking of what I can do for myself to keep myself happy and to keep going. My conclusion is to keep on making art, no matter what form that may be in. Be it fashion, photography, making a gif video for Instagram, that is what is going to help America through this rough time. Rallying together, bringing art at the center, because that is what makes us as humans so special. We have the ability to create amazing things, so why not share it? Without much more talk, here is today’s recipe. Enjoy it, because everyone deserves a drink and also enjoy it because it’s damn delicious if I say so myself.

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Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Serves 1-2

Ingredients 

1 hearty Grapefruit 

4tbsp. Of good Gin 

dash of nutmeg 

dash of sea salt (optional)

3-4 ice cubes 

1/2-1 cup of Tonic water 

Extra 

Cocktail Shaker 

Directions:

1. Vigorously roll around the Grapefruit on a flat surface in the palm of your hand to release the juices.

2. Cut the Grapefruit in half and gently squeeze the Grapefruit juice in the cocktail shaker. (May use both halves of the Grapefruit if you decide to make two Gin and tonics. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, be sure to remove the Grapefruit seeds.)

3. Add the nutmeg, sea salt, Gin and ice cubes to shaker. Quickly shake the ingredients together while holding the top intact.

4. Remove the small cap to the shaker and pour into wine glass or glass of your choosing. Then add the Tonic water and stir together with the other ingredients.

Enjoy with a slither of Grapefruit on the side!

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Ferrero Rocher Granola with Kendall

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Photography by. Inez and Vinoodh(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Today’s inspiration is a young woman who is almost literally on EVERY single page of EVERY fashion magazine. She is on the cover and the main hit of Vogue’s September 800 page issue. Through the well-known fame of Keeping up with the Kardashians, she has been able to make a name for herself. This young woman is none other than Kendall Jenner. To learn more fun facts about her, watch 73 questions by the Vogue Channel.

Kendall Jenner, isn’t afraid to speak her mind and she definitely commands the runway with her striking features and also having an amazing walk. I was very intrigued by the photo above taken by Inez and Vinoodh. I wanted to create something that would feature chocolate to resemble the nut-brown color from the outfit and purse that Kendall holds. So, enough with the chit-chat, here is today’s recipe…

Ferrero Rocher Granola

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled cereal oats

1/2-1 cup of whole grain rolled oats

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

1/4 cup of raw agave syrup

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of coriander 

1/2-1 cup of wheat germ

1/2 cup of golden raisins

1/2 cup of finely diced dried apricots

1/3 cup of Ferrero Rocher chocolate

Extra

parchment paper

baking sheet 

big bowl 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine all ingredients together, except for golden raisins, apricots and chocolate.
  4. Mix the granola mixture with your hands or stir with spoon.
  5. Once well combined, spread the granola mixture onto the baking sheet. Set aside until oven is ready.
  6. Finely dice apricots and chocolate and add golden raisins to a small bowl. Then set inside the fridge to chill.
  7. Add the granola mixture to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Once the timer has made it to 10 minutes left, add the apricots, chocolate and raisins.
  9. Keep on baking until golden brown.
  10. Take granola out of oven and let it cool completely.
  11. Keep granola in large zipper bag or glass container in fridge. Enjoy with milk, yogurt or even by itself! (Warning, this recipe is addictive–enjoy with caution)

 

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Photo and gif by. Bernadette Mira and Garrett Hagen