Recent Posts

Walnut Taco “Meat” – GF and Vegan!

Walnut Taco “Meat” – GF and Vegan!

One of my favorite things about Lynchburg is that it’s home to so many great local shops and restaurants. One of my favorites is Millie’s Living Café. If you’re in the mood for a healthy, vegan lunch, and a DELICIOUS juice, then Millie’s is your […]

Homemade Sangria Slushies

Homemade Sangria Slushies

Happy June! If you’re a teacher, you know that the beginning of June means one thing: SUMMER BREAK APPROACHETH! I am so ready for the sunny days and the summer haze. There’s just something about summer that makes everything more fun – the bright colors, […]

Memorial Day and Beer Brats

Memorial Day and Beer Brats

Recently while on vacation, Josh and I visited a Pearl Harbor Exhibit, all about the “date which will live in infamy”, the war that followed, and the enormous effect it had on the U.S. and the world as we know it. It was a sobering experience, and on this Memorial Day morning, I can’t help but think of it. While I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always the most patriotic, stories of war and sacrifice always tug on my heart. I’ve never lost anyone dear due to war – I’m one of the many who get to cheerfully say, “Happy Veterans Day” every November and look back at the service my parents offered our country. More often than not, Memorial Day has just meant the pool opening for the summer, or a great Bed, Bath, and Beyond sale, or cookouts with friends. This morning, though, I think of the elderly tourists walking around the exhibit with us, donning much more somber faces than mine. That world was closer to them than I could ever imagine – they remember radio announcements of the bombing when they were children and stories their parents told them of the war, or people they knew who served and never came home.

For me, it’s a day off work and a chance to share a new recipe. For many, though, it’s a sober reminder of the ultimate sacrifice given by one they love and have lost. Today as I celebrate summer along family, friends, and way too much food, I’m a little more mindful than usual that my freedom in the U.S. has come at a price.

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When I saw thedefineddish.com‘s recipe for beer brats for the long weekend, I could not resist! I’m usually not much of a pork eater, but I’ve been branching out and trying new kinds of meats, so this was the perfect opportunity to try something new! If you don’t follow her on Instagram – do yourself a favor and do it now!!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of brats
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of your choice of beer
  • 2 onions
  • Your choice of bread/buns

 

  1. On medium high heat, add olive oil to skillet and sauté onions for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Place brats in with onions, add your bottle of beer, and bring to a slow boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until brats are cooked. Add beer if needed throughout cooking. (brats need to be mostly covered)
  4. Remove brats from skillet, and place on a grill pan on medium heat. This will give you those pretty grill marks and a yummy char taste without the mess of a grill.
  5. Serve on bread or bun with onions, and with your choice of toppings! We used parsley, mayo, and J added some jalapenos to his.

We made our brats with some sautéed asparagus and mushrooms – so yummy and so colorful, and makes for a complete hearty meal. I’m also a little weird about big chunks of meat, so after grilling it, I chopped mine up like ground meat, and ate my sandwich like that instead! (This makes for a great option for the kiddos, too!) Enjoy! What’s some of your favorite summer recipes? Anything else you think would be super yummy with some beer brats? Let me know!

 

Until next time,

~Ash

 

Coffee Break: May Happenings

Coffee Break: May Happenings

  Hello! It’s been a little quiet around here lately, but that’s because the month of May has been full of travel and excitement. Now that we’re back home and well-rested, it’s time for a little Coffee Break. So pull up a chair for a […]

Crock Pot Queso

Crock Pot Queso

Happy Cinco de Mayo, friends! Fun fact: Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day (you’d be surprised how many people think that!), and actually isn’t really as big of a deal in Mexico as it is to us beer and queso loving Americans. Even […]

Introducing Novalis Candles (plus how to make your own at home!)

Introducing Novalis Candles (plus how to make your own at home!)

 

There are few things I love more than relaxing at the end of a long day by propping my feet up and digging into a good book. Or coming home and having a warm dinner with my husband. Or lounging on my couch and watching way too much Netflix. Or grabbing a carton of ice cream and… okay, there are actually a lot of things I love to do at the end of a long day. But what makes all of those things even better? CANDLES.

There’s just something about candles that create the homiest atmosphere. Mood lighting. Great smells. Practical decoration. I honestly could go on and on because I stinkin’ love candles. So when I stumbled upon a way to make them myself at home… oh, I was hooked. I immediately starting scouring the internet and the wonderful world of Pinterest for the best tips, things to know, how not to blow your house up, etc. Being the dreamer and impulsive woman that I am, my second thought was, “WE COULD SELL THEM, TOO!” My steady, much more practical husband advised that I actually try making one first. So off I went, researching the best products and buying the supplies we needed.

There are many methods and materials that are used in candle making, but we’re excited and determined to do it in a more natural and intentional way – using products with integrity and avoiding the gross chemicals that are in so many products we use daily. We settled on using soy wax, hemp wicks, and essential oils. They are hand-poured in our home, and made with love. If you have any experience making candles or with more natural ingredients, we’d love to learn and try it out! You can purchase a Novalis Candle through our Facebook page, the “Novalis Candles” tab on my blog, or just give us a shout if you’re in the Greater Lynchburg area!

Enjoy the DIY instructions for making your own soy candles below. They’re great for gifts and so much fun to make! 😉

Until next time,

Ash

 

DIY Soy Candle

  1. Pour a glass of wine. (This makes little difference in your candle making ability, but I think wine is always step one 😉 )
  2. Gather all of your supplies. You want to be able to transition quickly and effortlessly from step to step.
  3. Create a double boiler. If you have one at home, that’s great! But I just made one with a sauce pan around 1/3 full of water. Put sauce pan on medium heat.
  4. Fill pitcher with 1 lb. of wax and place in the sauce pan. Monitor water and refill if water boils down too low.
  5. While your wax is melting, you want to prepare your containers with wicks. Place a wick sticker (not necessary but really helps!) on desired spot in container, and stick your wick on. Place wick bar on to hold in place.
  6. Stir wax with spoon or spatula. Monitor temp. until it reaches 185F. (*Read your wax instructions and do some research! Different kinds of wax varies in temps.)
  7. Once it reaches 185F, remove from heat, mix fragrance in and stir. (Again, depending on what kind of fragrance oil you are using, this can change. For our essential oils, we’ve found mixing them after the wax begins to cool is more effective – around 150).
  8. Let wax cool to 135F, stir, and slowly pour into container. Stop around ¼ inch from the top.
  9. Allow candles to cool overnight, and cure for a few days for a stronger scent.
  10. Enjoy!

*Make sure you choose utensils and materials that you DO NOT use with food! (I just use a wooden painting stick to mix, and a measuring cup that I keep separate from my kitchen measuring cup.) For easy clean up, use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel and wipe everything down while it is still warm.

 

We wanna hear from you! We’re newbies at candle making, and are still experimenting! Do you make candles? What are different products/methods you’ve tried and loved? Let us know!