Meet the Maker: Kate Payne

meet the makerSometime last year, I was virtually introduced to Kate Payne, the author of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. I don’t remember how the introduction occurred, but from the moment I visited her website, I’ve been hooked. I was so hooked that I purchased her book last November, and I love reading it in the little snippets of free time that I get.

I’m hoping to put a lot of her homemaking tips to use when we get our house, so I will do a full review of the book then. But for now – I just want to share her amazing story.

Photo from Kate Payne

Photo from Kate Payne

Before this book, Kate was what she calls “a flashy cook” – cooking food that would excite, but was not necessary by any means. She has also donned titles such as grant writer, half-assed homemaker, nanny, after-hours poet, doodler and gardener. She studied anthropology and sociology in the Sonoran Desert and once worked on an organic tomato farm.

Kate started the blog in 2009, when she was living in a ground floor apartment in Brooklyn, NY. She wasn’t making the money she was used to, but she still wanted the comforts of home. She dug inside for a little creativity and improvisation, and there the blog – and subsequently the book – were born.

“I started the blog specifically with the intent to write a book. The blog was a sort of sounding board for me to see if what I was thinking about writing was of interest to anyone besides me. I was not a blog reader at the time and my background in grant writing didn’t factor much into my blogging endeavors. I think the rigors of writing well–proofreading, syntax, punctuation, grammar, etc.–should go into any style of writing one does, whether it’s books, blog posts, magazine articles, or grants. “

She decided to write a book because she felt like there wasn’t enough resources out there for women who weren’t so hip on homemaking and keeping a clean house. Aside from that, she found herself questioning if it was normal for a modern, empowered woman like herself to actually enjoy the domestic life.

Image from Kate Payne

Image from Kate Payne

“The stigma and history surrounding women and domesticity fueled my intrigue in exploring my own relationship with the kitchen and household chores. With my book and approach I hope to shed a new light on DIY and eco-oriented homemaking. We all need somewhere to call home and shifting our attitude toward our homes is a good first step.

I’m of the opinion that you should pick and choose what you do yourself based on what you actually like doing, and then dedicate money you save there on quality items or services you don’t particularly enjoy. What makes the most sense for certain people to do themselves, doesn’t make sense for others. “

On top of maintaining her blog and writing her books, Kate also writes grants part-time for a nonprofit and maintains a quarterly column for Edible Austin. She works with her Marketing Coordinator Christina Valentine on the blog, tour event planning and managing workshop preparations. And because that is clearly not enough, she also works with a local farmers market group and helps maintain their website and social media.

“Freelancing means I’m working nearly all the time, but working on things I feel passionately about makes it worth it. I always carve out time to eat dinner with my wife, who does most of the sustenance cooking around our house. (I manage the fermenting, canning, desserts, ice cream and bread making, the projects we love, but can ultimately live without.)”

Meyer Lemon bath salts. Photo from Kate Payne

Meyer Lemon bath salts. Photo from Kate Payne

Kate started canning in 2009 and peach jam was among her first projects, which she was afraid to eat because she was terrified the jars were full of botulism. She also made a triple citrus marmalade, from Eugenia Bone’s book Well Preserved.

“As I endeavored to learn more about canning, I soon discovered that all the hype surrounding your imminent death by canning was not really likely if you followed USDA-approved canning methods and practices. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a great resource for beginners.”

A self-taught cook, she gets a lot of her recipe inspiration from Joy of Cooking and many of her gluten-free recipes will start from there and from pastry chef David Lebovitz. She will then make the recipes gluten free-friendly by substituting the flour for a flour blend based on what she is making. As for her preserving projects and recipes, she’s inspired by Linda Ziedrich, Eugenia Bone and Sandor Katz.

She and her friend started the Food Swap Network, which provides hosts and attendees with a bevy of resources and information. Existing swaps that are registered on their site are searchable for anyone nearby who wants to join the fun.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Cake. Photo from Kate Payne

Gluten-free Cinnamon Cake. Photo from Kate Payne

Kate’s new book The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen comes out next month and is available for pre-order now. She says it will be in the same style and format as her freshman book – it will just focus completely on the kitchen, which really is a world of its own.

“I took over the cooking for the year I wrote the book as evidence that even someone like me who doesn’t enjoy daily sustenance cooking can reasonably and affordably incorporate cooking into their busy lifestyle.”

She hopes people will just simply focus on doing their best, and will relax when they hit the learning curve that comes with working on new projects. And as for the best compliment she’s received:

“A single mom told me how she’s never had time for any household things, but my book and small-batch preserving recipes on the blog inspired her to try doing some kitchen projects with her daughter. They now spend more time together cooking and canning, which means the world to her.”

Photo from Kate Payne

Photo from Kate Payne

Kate will be kicking off her HGGK Book Tour (hooray!) on May 24 in Ann Arbor, MI and the tour will close in Albuquerque, NM on July 1. I have listed the dates and locations of her book tour, and you can also see her full classes, demos and signings schedule by visiting her at katepayne.net.

      • May 24 – Ann Arbor, MI: Literati Bookstore, time TBD
      • May 27 – Austin, TX: BookPeople 7:00pm
      • May 28 – Houston, TX: Blue Willow Bookshop, 7:00pm
      • May 29 – Brooklyn, NY: Greenlight Bookstore, 7:30pm
      • June 13 – Tucson, AZ: Antigone Books, 7:00pm
      • June 17 – La Jolla, CA: Warwick’s, 7:30pm
      • June 23 – Seattle, WA: Book Larder, 6:30pm
      • June 28 – San Francisco, CA: Omnivore Books, 3:00pm
      • June 30 – Phoenix, AZ: Changing Hands Bookstore, 7:00pm
      • July 1 – Albuquerque, NM: Bookworks, 7:00pm

You can find Kate Payne by visiting her on The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking website, you can find neat stuff in her store and you can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. If you know an awesome maker who would be perfect for this series, please leave a link in the comments, share on my social media or e-mail it to me!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

To say that we use a lot of hot sauce in our house would be a serious understatement. The good thing about that is that I have a serious amount of peppers in my garden right now. I can barely contain them all. In fact, I’m having a really hard time doing so. Although I know the summer heat will be looming around for a while, I need to start preparing for the cold weather, and therefore, the end of my beautiful pepper plants. So, I have found the perfect solution: homemade hot sauce! I know I shared a recipe for homemade hot sauce in my Father’s Day post, but I wanted to share a few more recipes I found. Also, I happened upon a new site for finding recipes! Don’t worry though, Pinterest and I are still very much in love.

The new site is called TasteSpotting, and although there are ads on the site, you can click on the food icon, and it will take you directly to the site. No “image links,” just the real, original recipes. At least that’s what I’ve found so far in my hunt. It also led me to a beautiful site called Honest Fare, which is where I got my first recipe.

Image belongs to Honest Fare

Image belongs to Honest Fare

Homemade Hot Sauce from Honest Fare – I’ve found myself gravitating toward really clean, natural sites that make me feel relaxed once I land upon them. She shares recipes for both green and red hot sauces, and they both look amazing and delicious. She also happens to co-own a food truck called La Empanada Food Truck, and she has her own apron line, so I take it she is pretty busy, and pretty awesome.

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Image belongs to Illustrated Bites

The Hotness from Illustrated Bites – The super unique – and awesome – thing about this blog is that Heather Diane, the creator of this blog and recipe, is also an illustrator and uses her skill to illustrate all of her recipes, like this one. As a person whose heart flutters every time I see a good design, I love this site. If you are into the design aspect as much as I am, you can check out more of her work at heatherdiane.com.

Image belongs to Allyson Kramer

Image belongs to Allyson Kramer

DIY Hotsauce from Allyson Kramer’s Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes – First of all, I would like to applaud Allyson Kramer for taking on the hard task of creating recipes that are both gluten-free and vegan. Those two weeks that I was a hardcore vegan were probably the hardest two weeks of my life. Now, I wasn’t cooking then, just eating black bean tacos every chance I got, and a whole lot of fake meat. So I was the worst vegan in town. I digress, she has a really good recipe, and even a hotness chart for the peppers. She also has a couple cookbooks and she’s an artist. Sometimes I’m lucky to clean the house AND take a shower in the same day, so I’m always flabbergasted by people who can pull of more than that.

Do you have a hot sauce recipe that you would love to share? Or did you use one of these recipes to make your own? Share in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #homemadehotsauce. Check out more of my inspiration on Pinterest and feel free to pitch any Thrifty Thursday ideas. Stay thrifty, my friends.

Gettin Fit: Interview with Toni Jones

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Yes, another interview this week. I’m lucky to interview such inspirational people and to share their stories with you. Every time I read what they have to say, I feel motivated (especially when it comes to anything with health and fitness). It’s easy to stop when you don’t feel good (My whole family is battling a cold right now, and between taking care of my baby and myself, I have had no energy to do anything else). But when I read a good fitness story, I always find a way to pick up from where I left off. So, this could not have come at a better time. Today I’m talking with Toni Jones, 28, of Monrovia, CA, who is a trainer and who follows a gluten-free diet after discovering eczema on her baby.

Have you always been into health and fitness? Starting at a young age, I was always involved in sports but as far as nutrition goes, I knew very little. Coming from a single mother home and having two other siblings, there were days and nights where food was limited so we ate whatever we could find in the house at the time.

When did you find out about your allergy problems and how did that affect the food you eat? About two years ago when I gave birth to my youngest daughter, she had a bad eczema outbreak on her stomach and legs. I also had eczema behind my arms my whole life and creams never really took it away. I started to research “how to treat eczema” myself and experiment by eliminating foods. Once I took out gluten and dairy from my diet I started to see results and in no time my eczema was completely gone!

Since I was breast feeding at the time, taking it out of my diet -also took it out of my daughters diet and her eczema was completely gone too! That’s when I decided to get testing done to see what else I may be allergic or intolerant to.  I found out I’m allergic to corn, dairy, gluten and peanuts. Now, we eat like “cave men” as my husband says. We don’t eat processed foods and have to read all the labels. It was extremely overwhelming at first, but now that it’s been a few years, it has been a lot easier.

Are you the cook in the household or does your husband help? I do most of the cooking because I know what to get from stores and know the brands that are tolerant for me. My husband will occasionally help cook and do the grill if I prep it first because my way is like a different language to him.

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Are there any websites that inspire your recipes? Yes! I have a top three that I love using…they are all blogs with people who have similar allergies to me. Against All Grain,  Elana’s Pantry and The Clean Program Blog

Does your family eat the same food as you? Absolutely. Creating healthy habits for my family is priority. I even started a book of my favorite recipes for them with pictures and notes. I want them to each have one when they grow up and go out on their own. I also make sure that both of my daughters go shopping with me to pick out vegetables and then they help me prepare them. It’s fun and they love knowing they did something so “grown-up”!

I love the book idea – may have to start my own!

How do you manage your workouts with taking care of your children? Do you involve them in the workouts? I usually do my workouts early in the morning before they wake up and before my husband goes to work or I do them later in evening once they are getting ready for bed and my husband takes over bath and bedtime. If those don’t work my girls come with me to workout and they usually try to “copy” me and we will skip rope together!

Favorite fitness wear? I love LuLu Lemon, it’s expensive but I love their pants! They fit great and they don’t become see-through as some do over time. The quality is great. As far as tops go, I love tank tops so I get whatever is on sale. Target has some great sports bras and tanks for great prices!

What’s your most favorite meal to make? Two words, SLOW COOKER! I love using it because it’s super easy, and not time consuming. I’m free to run errands, play with my kids, or do house work- all while dinner is being cooked. My favorite thing to make is throw in so chicken, a lot of veggies, season to taste and there you go! I usually use the slow cooker when I know my days are so busy.

I agree. My slow cooker is one of my favorite things about fall. That, and my birthday, of course.

If you do have a cheat meal, what is it? I love Pizza!

Best and worst part of being a trainer? I love helping clients feel great about themselves. I want them to look in the mirror and be happy about what they see back. I want my clients to feel strong, healthy and sexy! My favorite is seeing them smile from ear to ear when they tell me about how they went shopping and dropped sizes or just how great and energized they feel.

I wouldn’t say there as any “worse” thing about being a trainer, but something that does grind my bones is when I have someone who trains and I’ve worked so hard to create a program for them and they just disregard it and blame me for their lack of weight loss. I always say “What you eat in private, you wear in public.” As a trainer I can only do so much to help someone achieve their goals but if they can’t put in the effort and meet me in the middle, they won’t see change.

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 12.14.28 PM

Image belongs to Toni Jones

What motivates you every day? I motivate myself. I see how far I’ve come mentally and physically and I’m proud of what I’m accomplishing and have accomplished. I love learning about the human body and nutrition and I feel inspired all the time. Seeing old pictures of myself when I didn’t have kids and seeing them now after having two and feeling more beautiful than ever is pretty amazing!

Where do you get your workout inspiration? I’ve learned from so many great trainers by shadowing them. They all had different views and programs but I can really appreciate the diversity of it all. I also love how women these days are really becoming stronger and seeing that being model skinny isn’t what it’s all about. It’s about being strong and feeling beautiful no matter what body type you may have. I used to box so creating workouts that are empowering and fun is my style. I want my clients to be proud of themselves and see how strong they have become but most importantly having fun is the key!

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 12.19.37 PMWhat advice do you have for people who want to workout every day but can’t make it to the gym? Honestly go to Target, Walmart, or wherever they sell jump ropes and start jumping rope! It’s a great cardio and gets the legs looking good! Try to keep busy by moving around like gardening, playing with your kids, walking or taking a jog and most of all watch the food you put in your mouth!! Try to be mindful of your eating.
Just a little tip. If you have had a baby in the last year, be careful when you try jumping rope, or doing jumping jacks. You know why.

What projects are you working on right now? I’m currently in the middle of creating a workout program for women and men where we meet three times a week for six weeks and do workouts while eating properly. I want to teach them to live healthy and NOT diet! It’s about changing your lifestyle and being active to achieve better health. Everyone is capable of it, you just need to start!

What is the best part about your health and lifestyle change? As I mentioned earlier, as a kid we didn’t always have food around so learning about nutrition was like learning whole new language. I always struggled with weight issues because i barely ate or when I did eat it was all the wrong stuff. I hated how I looked and it made me so depressed growing up. When I had my first daughter I was determined to change because I wanted her to see me happy and love myself. I didn’t want her to learn that looking at yourself in the mirror meant criticizing your flaws.

I wanted her to know that when she looks in the mirror that girls that she sees is beautiful no matter what! I’ve changed my body by workout out and eating healthy, but I also changed my mind. Even with stretch marks from my pregnancy I still find them beautiful because it reminds me that my body was used to create these two little humans. That young girl who  always had weight issues and eczema no longer exists. I’m a confident, strong  and independent women, mother and wife. I won’t stop at nothing to help other women and men feel the same way. I mean, “YOLO” right 😉

You can find out more about Toni Jones on her blog, I’ll Start on Monday and you can also follow her on Facebook under Get it Right, Get it Tight. Who inspires you to keep living healthy? Whether they motivate you to eat better or workout more, I would love to know! Share in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #healthmotivator and maybe I can score an interview with them, too! Check out my Pinterest for more healthy inspiration

This week at the weekly treat

weekly treat

Anyone who knows me knows my insane love for avocado. I’ve gone through the avocado on toast for every meal phase at various points of my life, and when times have gotten rough, I’ve been known to eat avocado with a fork and some black pepper. That being said, I still have yet to use it in any of my baking recipes. Silly, I know.

Here are some amazing looking treat recipes that use the beloved avocado:

Avocado-Cupcakes-4-willcookforsmiles.com_

Image belongs to Will Cook for Smiles

Avocado Cupcakes from Will Cook for Smiles – This is actually the picture that inspired this week’s treat. I love just about anything that comes in the form of a cupcake, and I love avocado more than cupcakes. So to me, this is the perfect pairing. I think the only problem I’ll have is the ability to keep an avocado long enough to bake with it.

Image belongs with A Dash of Compassion

Image belongs with A Dash of Compassion

Gluten-free chocolate avocado cupcakes from A Dash of Compassion – I love myself a good vegan recipe. But sometimes, there are a bunch of ingredients that I’m starting to believe don’t actually exist, and it gets both exhausting and obnoxious. Luckily, this recipe has none of that. Now, I’m not a big fan of gluten free flour, so I’ll stick to my whole wheat flour for this recipe. But if you do enjoy the gluten free way of life, you can definitely follow the recipe for the flour at the bottom.

avocadoicecream_zps79aa087e

Image belongs to Some the Wiser

Avocado Ice Cream from Some the Wiser – When I was pregnant last year, I was ADDICTED to frozen yogurt. It was insane. Whenever we passed by somewhere that had frozen yogurt – we had to stop. And when frozen yogurt wasn’t around, I happily settled for ice cream. My obsession got so deep that I bought an ice cream maker. Only thing is, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work. So, once I get this whole frozen yogurt/ ice cream making thing under my belt, I’m making this. And then gaining a subsequent 20 lbs.

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Image belongs to the lone home ranger

homemade avocado nutella from the lone home ranger – I love chocolate so much, I would put it on everything if I could. Now, it can’t be that stinky ol milk chocolate, I will have none of that. Only dark chocolate for me. I can’t wait to make this spread and put it on my toast in the morning. Maybe I could use this spread and then top it with even more avocado? Hmm….

If you want to add to our weekly treat group, find us on Facebook. Share your favorite avocado treat recipe in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #avocadotreats. You can find more of my avocado inspiration on Pinterest.

Now go get some avocados! STAT!