Various Lovely Things

“Full Bodied”

Hello! I’m still here. Just a bit crazy busy at the moment. I have a wonderful post for you — it just needs to be edited and written. In the meantime, allow me to share some lovely things with you:

Pillow Cookies via Bakerella. Oh my. Half a cup of dough for each cookie.

Homemade Black Tea Lemonade via honey & jam. Sounds so refreshing.

Stockholm Floral Apron via Anthropologie. Simply gorgeous.

Leave Me. A lovely short film. Confession: it made me cry.

I hope you all have a lovely 4th.

With love,

Erica Lea

3 Responses to “Various Lovely Things”

  1. Wow, I’m a fashion blogger but definitely a foodie, too.

    Your blog is great – from one Erica to another… Can I ask what kind of camera do you use for these sharp close ups?


  2. Erica Lea says:

    I use the Nikon D80 with a 50mm 1.8 lens for most of my food photos. I absolutely love it.

  3. Turtled28 says:

    I happened across your blog recently & have been looking thru your archives. I had to comment, because I followed the link to the short video, and it moved me to tears as well.

    Your blog is beautiful, fresh and real. I thank you for sharing it with us. ^_^


How to Make Greek Yogurt


One afternoon, as my sister & I were on lunch break, we discovered something delicious:Greek Gods Yogurt. Between the two of us we devoured a 24-ounce container of the Honeyflavor. Hey, it was my first encounter with “real” Greek yogurt.



The drawback? The price. I knew there must be a way to make Greek yogurt at home.

After one failed attempt that left me with runny yogurt, I gave up.  Then, a few weeks ago, I decided to try again. And…success! The creamy, rich yogurt was almost like sour cream.



It was delicious with fresh strawberries from our garden, mixed with strawberry jam, drizzled with honey, or sprinkled with maple sugar. The possibilities are limitless!

Would you like to make some for yourself?


How to make Greek yogurt

Place a colander or strainer in a large bowl. Line with several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Pour in desired amount of plain yogurt (homemade or store-bought). Keep in mind that the yogurt will diminish by about half.


Fold the cheesecloth on top of itself. Place a plate on top of the yogurt and a heavy bowl on top of the plate. Place in the refrigerator and allow to strain until the yogurt is very thick, about 4-8 hours. The whey will drip into the bottom of the bowl. Save for future use or discard. Carefully scoop the thickened yogurt into storage containers. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes: Whole milk yogurt makes for the creamiest texture. If you’re making your own yogurt, you could even add a little cream.

I have also used paper towels to strain the yogurt. Just make sure that none of the paper sticks to the yogurt.



Printable instructions with step-by-step photos

Printable instructions without photos


30 Responses to “How to Make Greek Yogurt”

  1. Esther says:

    We absolutely adore Greek yogurt! We love to make tzatziki out of it. Do you all make your own yogurt at home?

  2. Maria says:

    We make our own yogurt. Greek is my favorite. It is so much cheaper to make at home and so much better! Love yours!

  3. Norah says:

    Look at this blog for instructions on how to make yogurt, then put it through cheesecloth.I make mine with whole milk with about half a cup of cream mixed in. Makes delicious parfaits like the ones McDonalds make with frozen fruit and granola.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea it was so simple… I will definitely have to try this. I am used to spending loads on the Fage brand. I got my Mom addicted, and we love to plop it into a big bowl scattered with almonds and topped with agave nectar. Delicious!!!

  5. Rebecca says:

    This is awesome :) I would love it if you did a tzatziki sauce recipe (hint hint!). I have been looking for a good recipe with awesome instructions, but havn’t come up with one yet.

    This is defenitly step number one in my findings, though!!

  6. Erica Lea says:

    Esther: Yes, we make our own yogurt, but we also buy yogurt. I recommend Danon plain yogurt or Greek gods Honey yogurt.

    Rebecca: Perhaps I will do a tzatziki recipe sometime. My sister made it for a Middle Eastern dinner we hosted, and it was delicious.

  7. I’ve been making crockpot yogurt for a couple of years now on a regular basis and attempted Greek yogurt, in a similar method, a while back. It is good and all of my weight-loss magazines promoted it as extra-healthy too and very beneficial to the body. I just need to find somewhere to buy cheesecloth. I had to use a sterilized dishcloth when I made it.

  8. Katherine says:

    This might be a silly question, but greek yogurt is known for having more protein than regular yogurt…right? So if I make my own greek yogurt with this method, aren’t I technically missing out on the added protein from store bought?

  9. Erica Lea says:

    Katherine: I’ve never heard of that! I did a bit of research, and as far as I can tell, Greek yogurt is higher in protein because it is strained and the nutrients are more concentrated. So unless the store-bought varieties add protein, you should be getting the same benefits from homemade.

  10. Mary says:

    I was sooo excited to see this post! Thank you for all your trial and error for our sake! I can’t wait to try this, it’s been bookmarked!

    Delightful Bitefuls

  11. Katherine says:

    Okay, thanks for taking the time to find an answer to my question! I’ll be attempting to make my own greek yogurt soon :)


  12. indie.tea says:

    Yum, the picture of your strawberries mixed in with the yogurt is SO tempting. My mom taught me how to make yogurt when I was little, I’ll have to try straining it into this Greek-style yogurt asap!

  13. Sherry says:

    I really do love greek yogurt! You’re right that it an be expensive, so thanks for the great instructions! I just found your blog and really like. You have wonderful recipes!

  14. Heidi says:

    Do you have any suggested uses for the leftover whey?

  15. Rose says:

    I feed the leftover whey to my goats. They love it. Before I discovered that the goats liked it, I used it for liquid in my homemade bread.

  16. Jeannie says:

    Wow! I cannot wait to try this! I am so in love with Greek Gods honey yogurt but not the price! This is my first time visiting your site…won’t be the last! Thank you so much!

  17. Jamie says:

    I searched and searched the internet finding an easy recipe for greek yogurt. It is in the refridgerator now. I look forward to how it will taste for breakfast!

    And I love the website. Great photography and I love how you made the recipe look as interesting and exciting as the photographs of the food! I will check back for more recipes!

  18. I’ve been wanting to try making this. Thanks for the inspiration

  19. Christine says:

    Remember so many dairy products contain added hormones like rBGH (Dannon is one) so if you are going to make your own yogurt you might want to use organic milks, or use organic yogurts like Stonyfield to make greek yogurt. Monsanto won’t let companies advertise on their cartons that they are hormone free, but a little research on-line gives us a pretty good idea which companies we can support.

  20. StacyJ says:

    I read just this a.m. about Greek yogurt being better for you than most store-bought yogurts because of their high sugar content. But I’m wondering if I’m missing something…all it takes to make it “greek-style” is to strain it?

  21. Erica Lea says:

    StacyJ: Yep! That’s all it takes.

  22. Deb says:

    I always use a very large coffee filter for straining the yogurt. I’ve never tried cheesecloth, so I’m not sure which would be easier, but there you go — another option.

    I just found your blog this morning and have been enjoying your beautiful photos and taking note of a few recipes to try.

  23. Becky says:

    Thanks for sharing this easy recipe. I love greek yogurt but feel guilty for spending so much on a such a small serving. Made it last night and just had a serving with strawberries. The consistency is great but the taste is not quite as good or maybe not as sweet as the store bought. I did accidently pick up Nonfat plain and my strawberries are unsweetened. I probably just need to get used to the lower sugar content.

  24. […] Erica Lea’s Greek yogurt tutorial on was so easy to follow! […]

  25. Kate says:

    I read through all the comments to make sure I’m not repeating too much. I, too, make my own yogurt and strain some of it through a coffee filter. However, I also drink the leftover whey. I guess I can’t let all that nutrition go to waste! Just wanted to point out that it is drinkable. Not exactly delicious, but energizing, refreshing, and thirst-quenching.

    Congratulations on your marriage. Love the blog!

  26. Christina says:

    Straining with plain white fabric works much better than with a coffee filter because you can actually reuse the fabric. It could be a pillow case, t-shirt, sheet, flour sack, etc. Also you can do larger amount than coffee filters because, as far as I know, coffee filters can’t be bought as large as the average sink if you really wanted to.

  27. Diana says:

    I have made Greek Yogurt and used disposable coffee filters to strain it. Whole milk and heavy whipping cream make it positively sinful! Just a light drizzle of honey is all the sweetener it needs, if any. Once you go Greek, you NEVER go back, LOL!

  28. wow greek yogurt, a healthy and safe dessert! I love it!

  29. […] the whey. As I haven’t done this yet, but really want to, I’ve been reading recipes here and […]

  30. Ash says:

    I can’t believe it is this easy. This explains why you can use yogurt in replacement of sour cream in recipes. Im very excited to try this.

Portuguese Broa

Are you looking for a light, airy bread recipe? This one is not for you. Are you looking for a hearty, whole-grain bread filled with complex flavors? Keep reading.


Portuguese Broa

I must admit that I had my doubts about this recipe. I threw all of the ingredients into the bread machine, set it to the dough cycle, and left it for hours. When I returned, it hadn’t risen very far and the dough smelled strongly of yeast. Being an optimist at heart, I scraped it out of the pan, formed it into a ball, and set the oven.



Portuguese Broa

To my surprise, it rose beautifully. I slashed it, sprinkled it with water, and placed it in the oven, and it baked up just as the recipe described. It was delicious spread with butter and honey; it was even better toasted.



Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Printable Page


  • 1 cup (4 1/8 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup  milk, warmed
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons  honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


1) Mix together the cornmeal and hot water in a small bowl. Stir in the warm milk, and let the mixture cool to lukewarm. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over, so that the top is oiled. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy; this rising time will develop both the flavor and the gluten.

3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface, knead it lightly (just once or twice), and form it into a ball. Place it onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, or one that’s been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover it and let it rise for 45 minutes, or until it’s very puffy.

4) Just before placing the loaf in a preheated 450°F oven, spritz it lightly with water and make four slashes, each about 1/4-inch deep, into the top crust. Place the loaf in the oven and bake it for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400°F, and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.

Yield: l round loaf, 12 slices.



Portuguese Broa

4 Responses to “Portuguese Broa”

  1. Prerna says:

    As soon as I read “Are you looking for a light, airy bread recipe?” I was like ‘YES,YES!” And then you said “This is not for you” and I was like ‘What?? Why?”
    But then I read further and loved it!
    I sooo want to learn making breads but somehow manage to get busy and ‘idea drop!’ would love to learn some recipes from you.. Bookmarked!
    Thanks for visiting my space and for your lovely comments.. Stay in touch and keep inspiring!

  2. Somehow you read my mind… I’ve been searching for whole grain bread recipes for like 20 min and I wasn’t convinced with any of them… this sounds perfect! I will definitely make it this weekend! thanks for sharing!

  3. astheroshe says:

    Very nice!!I am trying some bread this week.. I find i want to bake it more and more.. will keep for my “”to do”list

  4. Sophia says:

    This looks like a delicious bread recipe. I especially love the photo with the butter! Divine! Have you ever tried Apple Bread? It’s a traditional Samhain recipe. Thanks for your great post by the way!

100th Post…

I can hardly believe that my blog will turn two in a little over three months. It has been a wonderful experience. I have learned (and am still learning) so much about photography, cooking, and writing.

Let me share some of my earliest posts with you. Above: my very first post — Honey Pecan Pear Bread. I was so proud that it was accepted by TasteSpotting.

Smoky BBQ Sauce. I was so excited when Joy the Baker linked to my sauce.

Sweet Onion Dip. I thought this shot was so cool. Ha!

Banana Nut Bread. I thought this photo was pretty much the awesomest ever.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking into my blogging past. I hope you didn’t laugh too hard at my early attempts at food styling/photography. I was eighteen.

I have so much more to learn and am still very excited about my blog. It gives me satisfaction and allows to me share my work with the world. I can’t wait to see what the next 100 posts will bring!

Subscribe to my RSS feed. ~ Get email updates. ~ Twitter. ~ Facebook.

16 Responses to “100th Post…”

  1. Congrats on turning two! There’s nothing to laugh at in those photos–they’re great! You have a lot to be proud of–your website is a great resource full of delicious recipes. Whenever I want to take a recipe and ‘health-ify’ it, I turn to your site to see if you’ve done it before. I use your substitutions all the time. I hope there are hundreds more posts to come!

  2. heather says:

    one hundred posts is such a long way! a triumph indeed, because your blog is beautiful. i always look forward to visiting.



  3. Kez says:

    Congratulations on 100 posts! :D

  4. Esther says:

    Keep posting! We love to see your new updates!!!

    The DeL Sisters

  5. congratulations dearheart!

  6. emily s says:

    awhhh! That’s so cool! Congrats Erica! You were extremely talented then too : )))

  7. Erica Lea says:

    Oh my. I cannot even begin to tell all of you how kind your words are. Thank you!

  8. Joy says:

    Congrats on your 100th post, Erica! I’ve been a missionary in China for nearly 8 years, and blogs like yours give me a taste of home. I thoroughly enjoy your sweet, wholesome posts, artistic photography, and yummy-looking recipes. Keep up the good work!

  9. Yeah, those photos are pretty horrid. ;P

    Not only has it been great to read your blog Erica, but also to enjoy all the deliciousness that has come out of it over these past years.


  10. Ruth Ann says:

    Wow! Your photos are always so creative. And lighting so beautiful!

    Honestly, I’d love to take lessons from you one day. You get that lighting so pretty and natural looking. :) I love it!

    Thanks for sharing the archives with us!

  11. you are so adorable and sweet, Erica – that would be reason enough for me to visit you. And your delicious recipes and fabulous photos are a plus! :)


  12. Jessica says:

    That sweet onion dip looks amazing!

  13. Congratulations on your 2nd year! That Banana Nut Bread looks divine!

  14. Your photos are stunning – even the first ones! Although the banana nut bread did make me giggle, with the banana slice staring at you like an eye.

    Love your site, and always enjoy your original recipes.

  15. Jayne says:

    Congrats! Thanks for sharing good stuff!

  16. Milisa says:

    Congrats on 2 years and 100 posts! Your photography and your recipes are amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Oatmeal Pecan Date Cookies

What do you do when you run out of your favorite chocolate chips and want to make some utterly scrumptious cookies? Ad-lib a bit, of course!

I dug through our extensive collection of printed Internet recipes and found one claiming to be the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe.

Of course I had to experiment and expand. I threw in some toasted pecans and chopped dates. Am I ever glad I did. The toasty pecans add a nice flavor and texture. When you bite into a date, it seems a tiny explosion of fruity sweetness occurs.


Spicy, sweet, nutty, fruity. Yes, they’ll do for a chocolate chip cookie replacement.

Notes: Following my usual substitutions, I used a little over half whole wheat flour in place of AP, and all maple sugar in place of the granulated and brown sugars.

You can use any nut or dried fruit you wish — experiment!

Oatmeal Pecan Date Cookies

Adapted from Thibeault’s Table

Printable Page


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups maple sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup toasted pecans or nut of choice
  • 1 cup chopped dates or dried fruit of choice


1) Preheat oven to 350° F.

2) Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla.

3) Combined flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir into butter mixture. Add rolled oats, pecans, and dates. Roll into small balls (golf ball size), place on an ungreased or parchment lined baking sheet, and flatten slightly.

4) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are golden. Cookie should not get brown. Cool on pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about two dozen cookies

11 Responses to “Oatmeal Pecan Date Cookies”

  1. Erica, that sounds like the perfect recipe for me! I got a package of dates as a gift but couldn’t decide what to make with them… These cookies look so good!

  2. I’ve been having a cookie craving for a few days, but haven’t made any yet because none of them sound good. This is perfect! Will be making it tonight! Thanks :)

  3. helsbells says:

    Mmmmmm they look so lovely, now can you post the recipe for the ones with no fat!!

  4. Erica Lea says:

    Ha ha! I’m afraid that will not be possible. :D

  5. Maria says:

    Oatmeal cookies are my absolute favorite. I can’t wait to try these.

  6. Vivienne says:

    Wow these cookies are perfect! I love oatmeal cookies…def healthier than the usual choc chip ones too ;)
    Glad I found your blog thru foodgawker! Really good photos too! :)

  7. This is a great idea. I often get stuck looking for a good cookie with dried fruits and nuts and they’re often very specific with unique spices I don’t want. This is great – a plain, simple cookie with a special punch!

    I’ve read your blog for a while since I first linked to it on tastespotting. I really love your photos – the perfect balance of pretty and rustic.

  8. Mary says:

    Wow, those look incredible… and those pictures, amazing! Happy I found you!

    Delightful Bitefuls

  9. Hannah says:

    Beautiful photos of YUMMY looking cookies – me want. ^_^

  10. Cathy says:

    Great recipe for me today. Yummy for us and perfect to share with grandpa who is valiently fighting cancer and enjoys dates. I added flax meal to help him with his nutrition needs and they are still fab for all. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  11. =) says:

    Yummmmyyyy Galletitas!!!

Chicken Tenders and a Cookbook Review


{Chicken Scampi}


Back in January ‘09, I was approached about doing some photography for an  e-cookbook. I was super excited. This February things started to take shape, and I photographed five of the awesome dishes in March.

Allow me to introduce you to Nourish Me Naturally.



What really impressed me about the recipes was their incredible flavors and simplicity of construction. These Crispy Chicken Tenders for example. So easy yet so good.


Greek Pasta Salad.


Mexican Casserole. Yum.


Taco Salad. Delicious.


I loved working with Nicole on this project. She is so kind and understanding.

Because she is so generous, she has allowed me to share her recipe for Chicken Tenders.

You can print the recipe here.

Purchase this cookbook: {link}

4 Responses to “Chicken Tenders and a Cookbook Review”

  1. Maria says:

    Congrats on the cookbook. The photos are fantastic. I will have to make these chicken tenders for my niece.

  2. Lizzy says:

    I just found your blog through Tasty Kitchen and I’m so glad I have! Your photos are amazing and I just printed out about 3,000 recipes to try :-) Everything looks absolutely mouth watering!

  3. Such a pretty scampi. I’ve never had it with chicken but can imagine the beautiful flavors.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Rosa says:

    I have that same blue plate!!!