Cooking on the Road Update!

It’s been a long day, but a good one. We’re sitting in Corner Coffee in Minneapolis right now in anticipation of our show later tonight. I really love Minneapolis. I love the weather (admittedly, I haven’t been here in the winter), I love the vibe, the coffee (home of Caribou!), and the people. It’s pretty great. I’m excited to play this evening.

We left Zion, IL this morning at about 10:00am, headed to a Starbucks where our lovely friend Teebs works (she hooked us up with some delicious drinks – pumpkin spice latte, yes please!), hit up a grocery store for our planned crock pot lunch, and set off. Our lunch cooked as we drove across the great state of Wisconsin. Here are the details of the latest crock pot in the car adventure.

Ingredients:
brown rice (probably about 1/2 a cup)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
a bit of water
baby carrots
1 can of corn
salt, pepper, garlic salt (We don’t really measure, just throw in what seems right)
2 chicken breasts

Basically, we threw all of it in the pot (I would recommend putting the rice and the corn in first and mixing them really well with the soup, then adding the chicken breasts and the carrots.) and let it cook for about 3 1/2 hours. Honestly, it wasn’t perfect, but it tasted pretty darn good. It’s refreshing to have hot food on the road that isn’t fast food and it definitely satisfied us. It was a pretty cost effective meal. We had baby carrots left over from the last crock pot meal and we’ve been bringing rice on the road. So all we had to buy was the corn, soup, and chicken. I think it was about $6 total. And that’s for two days of lunch for two people. So much cheaper then eating out for lunch!

I mentioned in the last food post that I was using Turkish ground coffee as a form of instant coffee. Well, it got pretty messy and it seems that the last bit of coffee we bought wasn’t ground quite fine enough. I think it will be really tasty in a French press. SO we caved and bought some Starbucks via. I’ve heard that if you’re going to drink instant coffee this is the way to do it, so we’ll see. I’ll probably test it out tomorrow. OH, and if you’re interested in trying some for yourself, Starbucks has a coupon on their website for $1 off a via purchase. I know, $1 isn’t much but every little bit counts!

That pretty much sums things up folks. If you’re in the Minneapolis area and happen to read this before 9pm, come out to Corner Coffee!

-jenny

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friendship, kitties, and pizza, oh my!

It’s been a little while since my last post, so I thought I’d bring you all up to date with what’s been happening on the road.

1. We are terrible at taking pictures. We’ve been traveling for about a week and a half now and I think we have about 2 pictures to show for it. If you are at any of the shows and you take pictures, please send them to us! When we come home without pictures I feel like I have to do the whole, “Honest, we were there” sort of thing.

2. We haven’t had to use the slow cooker again, but we will be using it tomorrow on our drive to Minneapolis. It’s going to be a long one. Any recipe suggestions? I’m thinking something with chicken.

3. We ate the most amazing pizza I’ve ever had while in Normal, IL. It’s about 2 hours from Chicago and it was Chicago style. Goat cheese. Spinach. Pesto. Mozzarella. Impeccable. I will never forget the deliciousness.

4. Every show has exceeded our expectations. Hanging out with the folks at Asbury, Huntington, Columbia, Columbus, Normal, and now Libertyville/Zion has been such an encouragement to us. Touring can be exhausting, but meeting people and forming relationships is really what it’s about and we’ve been blessed with rich conversation this time around.

5. We are once again in the land of Caribou Coffee. I am hoping to go today. Yes. Today. I will bask in the sweetness that is the white berry mocha. Mmmmmm….

6. Kitties have been especially sweet this tour. For those of you who don’t know, I am a cat person. I know this is crazy, and I can’t believe that I’m actually writing this, but sometimes I honestly think that there is a shared understanding between cats and me. It’s like they know that I love them. We were walking back to the guest house at Asbury University at about midnight when I saw this beautiful cat walking towards me. I called to the kitty and it came running. He was a beautiful sort of long haired siamese cat. Gorgeous. As soon as I touched his head he started purring. Then, out of nowhere his brother showed up. (I am that person who always thinks of cats as boys. Not sure why.) Eventually Tyler pulled me away from the kitties and we went to the guest house. The first kitty tried to follow us so we ran. The next morning Tyler walked outside and found the kitty waiting patiently on our door step. It was adorable.

I think that pretty much sums things up. We’re playing a house show tonight in Zion, IL. Tomorrow we head to Minneapolis for a show at Corner Coffee. Good times.

Enjoy the lovely fall day.

-jenny

 

Shows!

We are home in Nashville for a couple days and it feels good. We stopped at an apple orchard/pumpkin patch on the way to Columbia, KY yesterday afternoon. I picked up a 1/2 peck of apples and a 1/2 gallon of freshly pressed apple cider. So today, my goal is bake an apple pie.

This evening we are recording a song or two for the new Music City Unsigned Christmas CD.  There are some great folks contributing to this record: Angel Snow and Andrew Belle to name a few. We will definitely keep you posted on when and where you can get it.

Shows coming up this week:

Sunday, 10/24, Columbus, OH, House Show w/ Rue Royale and The Castros. 7pm, $13. Includes dinner. Tix here.
Monday, 10/25, Normal, IL, Jacob’s Well Church, 7pm. Details here.
Thursday, 10/28. Zion, IL. House Show. 7pm. Details here.
Friday, 10/29, Minneapolis, MN, Corner Coffee. Details here.
Sunday, 10/31, Belleville, IL.

Hope to see you!

Cooking on the road. First attempt = SUCCESS!

Hello friends! I write to you from the road. Right now we are driving through Indiana, heading south towards Kentucky. We’ve had a great start to this tour. It has seriously exceeded our expectations and we’ve seen God provide in really awesome ways.

I mentioned a few posts back that I bought a slow cooker for the car. Well, yesterday I put it to use for the first time. I’m trying to document what we eat on the road in an attempt to find out what works and what doesn’t as far as preparing food goes. So here’s the low down.

What I brought with me:
Oatmeal
brown sugar
cinnamon
black pepper
salt
rosemary
chili powder
brown rice
slow cooker
small cooler
walnuts
chicken broth
a small pur pitcher w/filter. We can get water from anywhere–gas stations, even bathrooms and filter it.

What I didn’t bring that I should have brought:
Plastic bowls, forks, knives, spoons (like the stuff you take to college for your dorm room)
tupperware (for lacto-fermenting the oatmeal, more on that later)
Ice packs for the cooler
A sharp knife

Thankfully, we’re headed home for a few days tomorrow so I can grab those things that I missed. We’re discovering that it’s actually pretty easy to eat relatively healthy and inexpensively on the road. Here’s what yesterday looked like:

Breakfast:
Oatmeal w/cinnamon & walnuts. We put the oatmeal in a cup with some water and microwaved it. Very simple and you could really do this anywhere. We stay with a lot of families or in guest houses at universities. They are always equipped with a microwave. If you’re staying in a hotel (and there isn’t a continental breakfast) I’m thinking you could find a microwave somewhere in if you asked. In addition to oatmeal, I’d been toying with the idea of instant coffee in an attempt to save the money we spend frequenting coffee shops while on the road. The idea of freeze dried instant coffee is really gross to me, so I was looking at stuff like Starbucks via (which is actually quite expensive.) We went to Whole Foods yesterday morning and discovered that you can buy Turkish ground coffee there. The Turkish grind is very fine and is actually what they use in instant coffee (like Starbucks via). So we bought some, asked for hot water and I now know how to make excellent coffee on the road without a pot and without spending $2 per cup. Yum!

Lunch:

On to the slow cooker! While we were at Whole Foods we bought a bag of baby carrots. These are already washed and peeled. We bought one sweet potato, and a small lamb roast. I think the key to making all of this work will be to shop at grocery stores that have a really nice meat section. We need to be able to buy small pieces of meat or one chicken breast at a time because we don’t have the refrigeration necessary to keep meat from going bad. So we checked out at the grocery store and went to our car. We drive a Honda Element, so we opened the back and used the bottom door as a sort of prep area. I put some rice and water in the bottom of the slow cooker, and added the carrots and the lamb. Tyler cut up the sweet potato (with a plastic knife from the salad bar at WF…what a feat!) and threw them in. We seasoned the food with salt, pepper, and a little chili powder.

The element has an extra 12 volt jack in the back, so we secured the slow cooker between our merch boxes, plugged it in, and flipped the power switch to on. Then we got in the car and began our drive to Indiana. We are trying to use the slow cooker primarily for lunches because most of the places we play provide us with dinner. I was a little worried that the food wouldn’t cook in time for lunch, but I was wrong! Three hours later the lamb was completely cooked through and the carrots and potatoes were tender. The rice was yummy too! We ate about half of the food, refrigerated the rest when we got to Indiana, and the plan today is to heat up leftovers in the crock beginning about an hour before we want to eat. The food should heat up nicely. I can’t wait to try new recipes!

Cooking on the road is working friends! I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Shows this week & next!

So here’s what’s happening this week and next!

10/15 House show, Nashville, TN. Only a few tickets left. Emails us (jennyandtyler@gmail.com) if you’d like to come.
10/18 Chapel & Evening Concert at Asbury University, Wilmore, KY. Facebook event here
10/20 Huntington University, Huntington, IN. Facebook event here
10/21 Cafe on the Square, Columbia, KY. Facebook event here
20/24 House Show, Columbus, OH. w/ Rue Royal & The Castros. Facebook event here

Look for shows in Normal, IL, Zion, IL, and Minneapolis, MN the following week. Then we head east!

Check out our website for the full tour schedule.

-Jenny & Tyler

25 before 25 (or something like it.)

I was talking with one of my best friends the other day and she was lamenting her upcoming birthday. Next week she turns 24, which in her mind is old. I kept insisting to her that 24 couldn’t possibly be old because I am 24 and I feel quite young. She told me she was going to make a list of 25 things she wants to do before she turns 25. I like the idea. Unlike, my friend, who has a whole year to accomplish her 25 things, I have about 5 months. It’s going to be a busy 5 months. So I’m thinking I’ll come up with 5 things I want to do before I turn 25 so that I can pace myself. Here’s my list. Think I can do it?:

1. Work out. At least once.
2. Write 5 songs. I’m not like those songwriters who write a song everyday. When the inspiration comes, I write. This could actually be quite challenging.
3. Take a real vacation
4. Spend a day alone without my computer or phone.
5. Make delicious thai green curry

I think these are good things, that I’ll most likely be able to accomplish. AND I really really REALLY do NOT think that 25 is old. Not even close. Maybe I should actually spend a decent amount of time thinking about 30 things I’d like to do before I’m 30…but then….I don’t actually want to think about being 30…. 🙂

-Jenny

Food on the road.

Hello friends!

I write to you from our attic (yes, we live in an attic) in Nashville. I’m watching the just desserts version of Top Chef and my mouth is watering. They’re making the ultimate hot fudge sundae….oh my goodness. Let me be a judge people! I DID make some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies this evening….soooo yummy. I’m kind of on an oatmeal kick. I’m already planning tomorrow’s breakfast: oatmeal with cinnamon, maybe a touch of brown sugar, and walnuts! Oh the anticipation…

On Friday, something very special arrived in the mail. It’s a 12volt slow cooker!!!! Not sure what that is? Well basically, it’s a crock pot for the car. Tyler and I have been talking about how difficult it is to eat healthy food on the road, especially when you want something hot. I also really miss cooking while we’re traveling. I was doing a little research online and came across a blog by Ben, one of the members of the band Mumford & Sons. By the way, if you haven’t heard Mumford & Sons’ music, you are really missing out. Anyway, Ben is a chef as well as a talented musician and he cooks for the band and the crew every night when they tour. Obviously, they travel a bit differently then we do. They have a bus and lots of space for starters. He sets up an oven/stove and a rice cooker every night and goes to town. I can’t do all of that, but it really got me thinking about the possibility of cooking on the road. So I bought a crock pot. I’m really excited to use it! I figure we’ll shop in the morning, prepare the food, throw it in the pot, and it will cook while we drive. Our car is going to smell so good! I’m going to spend part of this week looking for easy crock pot recipes. You can bet I will be blogging about the successes and failures and of course the messes that are sure to result from this experiment. If you have any recipe ideas for me, let me know!

-jenny

Apple pie!

Yesterday Tyler and I had the pleasure of being judges at a local apple pie contest. Why didn’t I enter said contest? Firstly, I didn’t know about the contest until the day before and I had things to do the day of, so I didn’t really have time to bake a pie. Secondly, once I heard about the contest and realized I couldn’t bake a pie, I set my sights on being a judge. I had an in with the farmer’s market sponsoring the contest–my brother sits on the board. So we simply showed up yesterday and begged to be judges. It was awesome.

We sampled 7 pies and let me tell you, I was really surprised to find that they all tasted completely different. One was really really sweet, another had a lemony taste, one pie had rum in it (I have to say, that one was particularly disgusting), one was gluten free, another had a crumb crust, and yet another had cranberries in it! The cranberry apple pie won my vote while Tyler gave the pie with the crumb crust top honors. To be honest, we had to leave before the votes were tallied (I think there were six judges) so I don’t even know who won!

I said it before, but I really was surprised at how different all of the pies tasted. There is a simple apple pie recipe that has been passed through generations in my family. In my humble (yet very biased) opinion, it is the best apple pie ever. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Start with your favorite pie crust recipe. I make a butter crust, but I have tasted some delicious crisco and oil based crusts as well. You’ll need a double crust. I’ve had success with this recipe but you’ll need to double it to get two crusts. Place one crust in a 9inch pie plate.

Anyway, on to the important part, the pie filling.

Ingredients:
6-7 baking apples (My grandma loves using Pippins, but I can’t seem to find them where I live. If you don’t have a variety of apple choices, Granny Smiths should do the trick)
1 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup flour

Slice, core, and peel the apples. A great trick to doing this quickly is to use one of those apple slicer thingys. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and flour and add the sliced and peeled apples. Pour into the pie plate. Roll out the second crust and place it on top of the pie, pushing the sides of both crusts together. Cut three slits in the center of the pie. Brush the top of the pie with milk and sprinkle sugar. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. The pie is done when it is bubbling over slightly. Serve warm….add vanilla ice cream if you want!

If you decide to try the recipe, let me know how it works for you!

On to real work….

-jenny

Autumn baking!

Have you heard? It’s fall! And it finally feels like it in Nashville (though this weekend it will rise back up into the 80s) so I am baking and enjoying hot drinks. Love!
Tonight Tyler and I are baking a pumpkin pie from a pie pumpkin. It’s a bit involved, but it really does yield the most amazing pumpkin pie—so much better than using canned pumpkin. Last night we had hot cider with homemade whipped cream. Mmmmmm……
And the colors! So beautiful! I wore a scarf today!
Seriously folks…it’s the little things. 🙂
-jenny