Happy August Friends~
August is a bittersweet month, as the season of vacations and relaxation comes to a close. The articles in this issue of American Lifestyle can help you end your season on a good note with the perfect pre-fall home tips, delicious recipes, and more!
Have you ever wondered how ice-cream flavors come to be? Artisan ice-cream maker Chef Liz Rogers shares how she started her business, Creamalicious, and how she creates the creamiest, dreamiest flavors.
Now that you're hungry, you might be tempted to head to your kitchen. Read the enclosed guide to getting your most organized kitchen ever so you can find everything you need and cut your cooking and cleaning time in half.
Once you start putting away your summer decor, it’s a great time to think about your interior design. Does it still suit you? If you’re having trouble defining your style, consider following the tips inside that can help you mix different styles harmoniously.
One final summer get-together with loved ones is a must! Break out the two tasty Southern-inspired dishes in this issue for all to enjoy as you're reminiscing about summer. After enjoying this dinner and dessert, everyone will leave full and happy.
Here’s wishing you an amazing August. As always, it’s a pleasure to send you this monthly e-magazine and I welcome the opportunity to serve you and yours with exceptional service from the heart.
Cheers to sweet summer's end!
Chef Liz Rogers discusses her groundbreaking artisan ice-cream company, Creamalicious, its decadent flavors, and her biggest sources of inspiration.
Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to found Creamalicious?
I am an executive chef and restauranteur. I’ve been in the business for about twenty years and have a marketing background. Before becoming a chef, I ran my own advertising agency, which allowed me to save money and open a restaurant. I created Creamalicious inside my restaurant about ten years ago.
My mom was a single parent of four and a welder who worked long hours. I’m the oldest child, so I cooked for my three brothers. She was more of a savory chef, and my grandmother and aunt made sweets. My mom’s dream was to own a restaurant, but she couldn’t do that because she was a single parent. That’s what inspired me to go into this business—she vicariously lived her dream through me.
What did food mean to your family?
All the women in my family communicated and bonded through food. I would spend the summers with my grandmother making things like pound cakes and other desserts and then eat them on the porch. My mom, who unexpectedly passed away in December, was the inspiration for our Granma GiGi’s Sweet Potato Pie flavor because she would bake twenty to thirty pies for the holidays. So to be able to capture that and see others enjoy it and relate to it is amazing.
Tell us about your family’s Southern influences:
I live in Cincinnati, but I’m from Cleveland, which is even farther away from the South. But my grandparents are from there, and I have uncles and cousins who live there. A lot of great things came out of the South. It’s known for amazing culinary cuisine and its deep, rich history, so I really wanted to make sure people understood that Creamalicious is more than a dessert. It’s an experience, and each product tells a story.
Who else inspires your ice-cream flavors?
They’re all inspired by real people in my life. For example, Aunt Poonie’s Caramel Pound Cake was named after my godmother, who baked everything in a cast-iron skillet. That may not seem like a big deal, but that skillet has a history of creating flavors. It’s over one hundred years old and has been passed down from generation to generation. Also, everyone has a favorite uncle who’s really cool, and that was the inspiration for my Uncle Charles Brown Suga Bourbon Cake. Then there’s the Porch Light Peach Cobbler. When we were growing up, we played outside until the streetlights came on; when they did, we knew it was time to go home. For people from the South, it also signifies that no matter how far you go away, the porch light will be left on and people will be waiting for you. It says that you’re welcome in this house.
Is “welcoming” something that defines your brand overall?
You hit the nail on the head. It’s really about love, family, and sharing. Creamalicious is a very welcoming brand—even though a lot is happening in the world and people may look different or come from different backgrounds, we all have something in common: enjoying a scoop of ice cream.
What makes your ice creams unique?
They are two-in-one desserts, kind of like an à la mode dessert. The sweet potato pie ice cream, for example, tastes like a pureed sweet potato pie, but it also has piecrust chunks, which is an amazing, unexpected taste experience.
You’re one of the only Black-owned mass-produced ice-cream businesses in the world. What does that mean to you?
To be a trailblazer is a huge honor because I had a dream that I fought for. But it’s bigger than me and the brand. At Creamalicious, we say there’s a dream in every scoop. As soon as you open the container, you’ll see a message from me, such as “Go for your dreams.” If you have a passion, you must work very hard on it. I took three jobs, including product development and R and D for other companies’ private labels, to make this happen. It’s not an overnight success story—I worked on Creamalicious, from the ideation to the product development, for many years. But it was worth it; my dream became a reality.
What are your favorite Creamalicious flavors? Do you have anything else in the pipeline?
Our seven new flavors, especially Ida Mae’s Apple Cobbler and Strawberry Fixin’ to Crunch Cake, are amazing. We also have nondairy sorbets coming out that are made with things like champagne and sangria, as well as a line of indulgent creamers. We’ve also developed a complete dessert line. As always, everything will be innovative and extremely creamy, which are trademarks of our brand.
What’s the inspiration for the Elizabeth A. Rogers Foundation?
For me, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. On my journey, I’ve met and been inspired by so many people. So I want people to experience my dream through Creamalicious, but I also want it to be a platform that helps other entrepreneurs realize their dreams. That brings me true joy. If I can inspire one person, especially a small-business owner, and then they can inspire someone else, before you know it, you’re reaching out across the globe. After all, our country was founded on small businesses. And, to be honest, I’m a champion for the underdog because I am the underdog. We’re in stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Meijer, so to the left of us might be Ben & Jerry’s and to the right Häagen-Dazs.
My foundation is focused on teaching people what it takes to be an entrepreneur. For example, some say they don’t want to work for anyone else, but I stress to them that if you can work hard for someone else, you’ll do well in your own business. I also want to make sure that I am providing jobs and resources and building teams because one of the biggest things I emphasize is you can’t do everything by yourself. No one person is responsible for a business’s success.
What does authenticity mean to you?
At the end of the day, I want to make sure that we are extremely authentic. I don’t want to be like everybody else, conform to what’s already on the shelf, or be told what I should be doing, whether that’s regarding my product or packaging. I want to be my own niche market and create my own authentic category where the stories make the ice cream. Creamalicious is not only about what you’re eating but also what it represents to you at that moment—you’ll reminisce about your home or childhood and smile.
For more info, visit socreamalicious.com
It’s been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. You probably spend a good portion of your day meal prepping, cooking, and cleaning up after each meal. However, that time can increase dramatically if you’re struggling to find what you need. Kitchen organization can make cooking meals much more enjoyable. As the busy fall season arrives, you’ll be glad you used the tips below to get this beloved space of your home in order.
If there were a golden rule for organizing a kitchen, it would be this: have a place for everything, even for the items you don’t use every day. When everything has a place, it’s easy to reach what you need and keep track of what you need to replace. Here are a few strategies for storing commonly forgotten kitchen items:
Dispense plastic bags
Opening your cabinet door to an avalanche of plastic bags can be frustrating. However, you can dedicate a place for them inside your cabinet door or on the wall by installing a mounted stainless-steel bag dispenser.
Contain your containers
In a typical kitchen, food containers tend to be thrown into or stacked haphazardly in cabinets, which makes searching for a matching lid feel impossible. To combat this, use an organizing system like this expandable food container and lid organizer. You can finally feel good about finding the perfectly size container for your leftovers.
Saving time in the kitchen means less time cooking and cleaning and more time enjoying your meals. Instead of storing frequently used items away, keep them visible and ready to use; doing so will also make it easier for guests to find kitchen essentials.
Separate your cooking tools
Do you use the same countertop utensil holder for all your spatulas, whisks, and serving spoons? It’s better to use a divided cooking-tool organizer that allows you to separate your tools based on material or type of tool. You can grab the right tool in a pinch or see all the options and decide what would be best to use for a particular recipe.
Make your olive oil and spices accessible
Most people use a generous amount of olive oil and spices while cooking, so it makes sense to keep them within arm’s reach of the stovetop. To make things easier on yourself, invest in an olive oil dispenser for easy pouring while cooking and a countertop lazy Susan so you can spin it to find the spice you need.
If you find yourself putting items in the wrong place and searching for them later, it’s time to rethink your kitchen’s storage.
Fit all your utensils
Most people have an organizer in their utensil drawer, but these organizers don’t always fit everything and can get dirty quickly. This bamboo organizer is durable and easy to clean, and it expands to fit your entire drawer, maximizing how many utensils you can store.
Clean up your cleaning supplies
Spills and other messes are bound to happen in the kitchen. That’s why it’s important to store your cleaning supplies in a convenient place. Most people keep their sprays and wipes under the sink, but it can be difficult to reach the back of an under-sink cabinet. You can make items more reachable with a two-tier under-sink organizer. If you use one that has wheels and hooks, you can double your storage space while reducing the strain on your back caused by bending down.
Counter space is precious kitchen real estate for preparing meals. That’s why you should keep it as clear as possible by using these tips.
Utilize your walls
When you don’t have a lot of surface area to work with, think vertically instead. Make simple additions and swaps like a magnetic knife strip instead of a knife block and a wall-mounted paper towel holder instead of a free-standing holder.
Bring in baskets
Mail and other miscellaneous items will inevitably end up on your counters. Set out a basket to consolidate these objects instead of having them take over your kitchen. Go through the basket once or twice a week, and get rid of anything you don’t need. Move everything else to an appropriate place in your home.
Let’s face it, fridges are hard to keep clean. When life gets busy, keeping your food organized isn’t always top of mind. The solutions below can help you take the thinking out of keeping your fridge tidy.
Use food storage bins
Utilize food bins that can compartmentalize your refrigerated foods—from eggs and soda cans to condiments and veggies. This set of organizers can help you get started.
Routinely toss expired items
Set a weekly reminder on your phone to go through your fridge and throw away anything that has expired. This will help you keep track of what you need to purchase at the store and create more space for additional items.
Organizing your kitchen with the right products can help you take control of this essential part of your home.
Would you like to mix furniture and decor design styles in your home but don’t know how? Are you struggling to create a cohesive look with the mix of furniture and accent pieces you’ve accumulated? The good news is you can beautifully mix different decorating styles, like traditional, modern, or farmhouse, to create a stylish interior. Follow these guidelines to design with confidence.
One way to start mixing and matching interior design styles is to employ the 80/20 rule. This means that approximately 80 percent of your space should feature one design style, and the other 20 percent can include others. If you have a living room with a traditional sofa and chairs, for instance, you can lighten the look by adding framed contemporary prints and light curtains in a natural material.
Yvonne Pratt of the interior design blog StoneGable is a pro at mixing design styles in her beautiful Pennsylvania home. Her living room is mostly furnished with classic elements, like a white sofa and spindle chairs, but she also has cozy farmhouse elements, such as a white buffet table, baskets, and a big farmhouse-style sign over her fireplace. “Most people end up mixing decorating styles in their home without realizing it,” she says. “That’s what makes your home warm and inviting.” The neutral color palette she chose for her home’s interior allows her to easily incorporate fun and trendy accent pieces without needing to completely redo the room.
A room’s built-in features can influence its style. For instance, white-painted crown molding may impart a traditional look, while an open floor plan and concrete flooring can provide a modern feel. But there are ways to work in other styles, too, despite your space’s existing structural elements. You can make a traditional kitchen with white cabinets and butcher-block counters look more contemporary by giving it a bold backsplash and modern tile flooring. Or you can warm a modern space with high ceilings by adding a comfy traditional-style sofa, a rustic brick accent wall, and warm pops of color.
Combining diverse design styles is a balancing act. To make your space look harmonious, give each side of the room equal visual weight. For instance, if a large built-in bookcase dominates one area, you could counterbalance it with an overstuffed sofa on the other side of the room. If your coffee table features a red vase, add other red accessories throughout the space. If you want to combine two design elements in your room, such as Scandinavian and midcentury modern, intersperse both styles throughout instead of featuring one style at one end and the other style at the other.
You can effortlessly mix contrasting furnishings by accentuating the qualities they share. For instance, a transitional-style sofa, midcentury accent chairs, rustic coffee table, and farmhouse dining table can look perfect together if your sofa and chairs have similar farmhouse-style throw pillows and your rustic and midcentury furnishings have matching wood tones. Texture can blend design styles and make a room more interesting. If you have a space filled with industrial-style furniture but would like to bring in rustic features, you could add a live-edge wood coffee table with black hairpin legs and a distressed wood mantel over your fireplace.
Repeating colors is an effective tactic for blending design styles. Pratt suggests developing a color palette with three to five main colors. You can expand this color scheme by adding lighter or darker versions of its core colors. In her home, Pratt uses a pleasing mix of neutrals like white, toasty browns, and honey golds. You can even turn a design element that’s pricey or stands out from the rest of your decor into a focal point by incorporating its palette into your overall color scheme. For example, if you have a red-brick fireplace, you can pick up its rust color as an accent color in your room to make your fireplace pop.
It’s helpful to know the hallmarks of design styles when planning your decor. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Bohemian: If you love a global aesthetic, this style, which mixes and matches fabrics and decor from around the world, is for you. Think Japanese block prints, handwoven rugs, and hanging macramé planters filled with houseplants.
Industrial: This style suggests an urban loft or warehouse, and it may include exposed beams and ductwork, high ceilings, concrete surfaces, and sparse furniture.
Modern: A modern style is defined by sleek, clean lines, dark-hued colors—think black-framed windows—and a combination of metal, glass, and steel.
Modern farmhouse: Popularized by designer Joanna Gaines, this style features a light and neutral color palette, homey fabrics like chunky knits and grain sacks, natural and painted wood furniture, decorative wood signs, and rustic shiplap walls.
Scandinavian: Rooms with a Scandinavian theme may have white walls and feature uncluttered spaces accented with lush houseplants, minimalistic furniture, and light wood floors à la IKEA.
Traditional: Traditional design may include luxurious features, such as ornately carved furniture, dark wood finishes, gold flourishes, rich fabrics like velvet, and curved lines.
Transitional: This style mixes modern and traditional styles and may include traditionally inspired furniture that’s toned down in size and ornamentation and a neutral color palette with bright splashes of color.
Summer is all about celebrating and enjoying time with friends and family, and what better way to make the most of your days than by making delicious foods that highlight the freshest flavors of summer? These two recipes from the Y’all Come Over book by entertaining expert Rebecca Lang are the best way to enjoy the flavors of the season before it comes to a close.
Seafood and summer go hand in hand. This recipe is similar to a lobster roll but is made much more accessible and affordable with the addition of shrimp.
Peaches are abundant this time of year, and this dessert will help you put them to good use. Topped with a sweet cinnamon oat crumble, it’s a dish you and your guests won’t be able to get enough!
recipe by rebecca lang
photos by rebecca lang
On a girls’ trip to Martha’s Vineyard, I fell in love with lobster rolls. My friend Jennifer Jaax and I took off on a journey on bicycles to find the island’s best rolls. We heard they were served at a church right on the water as a fund-raiser. We sat in the grass and ate them beside our kickstands. With Georgia shrimp close by nearly all the time, I like making the standard Northern favorite with a Southern spin. It always reminds me I need to take girls’ trips more often! Shrimp aren’t as meaty as lobster, but they make this recipe much less expensive and more local. Buying pre-cooked wild shrimp at the seafood market makes this recipe incredibly easy. Make sure to use top-sliced hot dog buns for a touch of authenticity. You can make the shrimp salad one day in advance.
recipe by rebecca lang
photos by rebecca lang
I learned the art of easy cobblers (among other things) from Nathalie Dupree. It’s my go-to dessert for summer parties.