Author Archives for Lainey Acosta

About Lainey Acosta

I wear many hats, but writing about hosting, recipes, collecting, and life in general creates a little vacation from a hectic life. I currently reside in New Jersey, own an accessories and gift boutique, host tea parties and sing rock music in a cover band.

Too Many Jobs

The Art of Overwork In COVID Times

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

I started my boutique store concept years ago as the side hustle I was repetitiously advised to have.

“Take your skills and use them for yourself”
“You make these companies so much money, why not do it for you!!”

When the store concept became a full brick-and-mortar, full-time commitment, I felt I was living in a dream! However, as anyone in retail will share, it turned quickly into a race to stay above water. I started other side hustles; I started consulting for fashion companies and took on a few network marketing roles with brands selling products that fulfilled what I felt was missing in my own store. I even picked up a part-time position with a national company doing grocery delivery. The later proved essential when COVID shut down my store. While there was a blip of an online bubble, what quickly became the thirst for human interaction virtually soon became virtual exhaustion. The grocery delivery service took over and paid the bills, but I wanted (needed) more.

Now I find myself at a crossroads, constantly coming up with new ideas from old passions and trying to refocus myself in a few strong directions. How many “side-hustles” are too many?

I recently navigated treacherous waters where all of a sudden, they all proved to be fruitful when my whirlwind spurt of energy that allowed me to have an awesome two weeks of success. I know that while planning and time management could make it possible, I also have a tendency to push myself into everything when I have the energy and when I don’t, I take up residence in Suck City where everything feels like failure.

The respite in the whirlwind was always having the shoulders of the Moms of Business group on which to lean my head. Learning how to cope, make money, be strategic, and meet awesome like-minded ladies is the key to seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I have yet to fully accepted that I have “two many jobs” but I know that I have the drive and the help I need to keep pushing the gas pedal.

#NSNGlife | Andouille Chicken Sausage and Rainbow Chard with Butter Beans

I fell in love with swiss chard after daring myself to try a new leafy green from a wall full of greens at my local Whole Foods Market. I have experimented with a range of different pairings of sausages and greens, I prefer the flavor of the Andouille sausage when pairing with rainbow chard. I admit, I chose rainbow chard because I was fascinated by the range of color, but have easily used green or red chard in its place. For this recipe I get extra smokiness by using Ol’ Smoktea by Sipology.

Andouille Chicken Sausage and Rainbow Chard with Butter Beans

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Spice Level: ★★★☆☆

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of rainbow chard
  • 1 pack of 12oz Andouille chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) of butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado or olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
  • For Even More Flavor:
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Sipology Ol’ Smoktea Seasoning

Directions

  1. In a deep saute pan (preferably 6qt), heat up oil and brown the Andouille chicken sausage until cooked through. Add garlic and shallots to lightly brown and add salt and pepper.
  2. Cut or tear chard into 1 1/2 inch sections and cut stem down into 1 inch sections. Add and blend into chicken mixture and reduce to a medium-low heat)
  3. Add the rinsed butter beans, mix again and cover. Let the chard and beans saute for about 10 minutes to get beans and leaves to a desired texture. Remove from heat once reaching desired texture to prevent overcooking chard.

Nutrition

Per Serving: 355 calories; 21.6 g fat; 2 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein;50 g cholesterol; 193 mg sodium

#NSNGlife The Journey

It quickly became clear to me that my diet was failing me when doctors could not diagnose my constant aches, exhaustion and weight gain. Indulgences became the norm and I knew that certain foods would cause certain reactions.  After having my daughter and gall stone surgery three months apart, all while enduring a painfully strict no-fat diet to try and thwart a gall-stone attack, I quickly abandoned any good habits I gained during the pregnancy and quickly let myself go.

Going ‘no sugar no grain’ or keto was something I started to experiment with after researching common causes to chronic pain,  I quickly learned that sugar was my biggest obstacle to tackle. I began to realize, while slowly incorporating better habits, just how much sugar I was consuming on a daily basis.

I relied on sugar to make myself feel better emotionally. Stress relief became a priority and my self-care routine revolved around instant gratification through food. My weight gain after my surgery was rapid and out of control. I thought a work out routine would slow the gain, however I soon suffered an injury that helped kick my weight gain into high gear. During my pregnancy I reached 205lbs, I averaged 165 for most of my 30’s. I quickly beat that number within 6 months and felt my body suffer the consequences.

After returning to a more active lifestyle once my injury healed, I researched more about changing my eating habits. The idea of “no sugar no grains” or NSNG, felt approachable because I did not have to dismiss fat, and instead tackle sugar, which I discovered was just in every single meal I consumed. Pizza, quinoa, root veggies, bread, cookies, coffee with 5 teaspoons of sugar, I was overloaded on sugar. After realizing my active lifestyle was only getting me so far with regards to weight loss, I jumped right in to NSNG. There were things I started to back away from during the research phase, but then one day, after feeling particularly achy in my joints, I made a much bigger commitment to making this a long term journey.

It started with cutting everything bread, everything grain, everything root veggie, everything tropical fruit, and focused on greens, berries, meats, fish. The only thing I couldn’t commit to was eliminating sugar in my coffee. So I went ahead, tried my first week, with my only daily sugar coming from my large coffee each day. I lost 7 lbs. I felt good about it. Somewhere in the middle of week 2 I felt so good I tried one spoon of sugar in my coffee. The very next day I cut sugar completely. I felt GREAT. I stuck it through and I lost 40 lbs in 6 months. Avocados, rainbow chard, almond flour, grass fed meats/dairy and coconuts became my best friends.

One of the lessons I learned was from Vinnie Tortorich, who developed the NSNG movement and is a fierce voice for empowering people to , one was called ‘Live a Little’. There will undoubtedly be moments when there are celebratory cake, or a drink with a friend, a meal at an event that was not devoid of sugar sources. Choosing my moment, and remaining focused before and after it, knowing I can participate a bit here and there and not feel awkward or fall off the horse was particularly empowering. During this past holiday season I had to make a few hard choices, and there were occasions where I made sure my day was on track and I would allow for one “treat” or one meal to be permissible. I knew I might even gain a tiny bit of weight since there were many celebrations to wade through over the last 30 days. Now that I am past it I am very proud that I only managed to gain three pounds and am already back to where I was before the onslaught of festivities.

Although I just recently started this journey, I am also very excited with how I feel. Clarity, pain-free, satiated, peaceful, these are some of the benefits I have received from focusing on what I eat. I will be sharing new recipes focused around NSNG/Keto diets, especially with regards to hosting and snacking, here on The Demitasse Lass. If you are considering this change in lifestyle or have questions, I would love to chat with you!

CHEERS-XO
Lainey

Tea Party Essentials: The Crumpet

I am so close to an attempt of making my own crumpets, but with delicious ready-made options so easily accessible, why should I? I’d much rather experiment with various jams and jellies.

I have the easiest yet delicious addition to any tea time or tea party, throw this together in a flash for a delicious sweet treat!

Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream Crumpets

  • Crumpets, (pre-made, Sharrock English Bakery can be found in many grocery stores.)
  • Lemon Curd, (also pre-made, and there are many options available, however Bonne Maman is new and my new favorite!)
  • Clotted Cream, (The Devon Cream Company is also available in many grocery stores)

I tend to prefer my crumpets warm but not toasted when enjoying with cream, curd or preserves. I suggest adding the crumpets to a toaster on the lowest setting. The gentle amount of heat allows the crumpet to become a bit fluffier out of the packaging. Once warm, add a nice layer of clotted cream then finish with a nice layer of lemon curd and serve.

I find this particular combination of curd, cream and crumpet goes well with a fine English Breakfast or hearty black tea. It is even more magical with an Earl Grey De La Creme or Lavender tea in the afternoon. Traditionally, fruit jellies and preserves are used, which is great with clotted cream too.

Tea Talk: Finding A Special Ceremonial Matcha Chanoyu Set

I am deeply interested in hosting Chanoyu, a proper Japanese Tea Ceremony, and the Koicha preparation of ceremonial Matcha tea.  Matcha is the stone ground, shade grown tencha green tea leaf, used to prepare Koicha (“thick tea”) or Usucha, which I believe many green tea enthusiasts are exposed to with the abundance of bottled Matcha drinks.

To experience Koicha matcha is a very different experience, one I believe many do not get exposure to in the US. As a huge green tea fan and an even bigger matcha fan, I am looking to collect elegant sets of ceremonial matcha ceramics and tools. I am looking to practice and get this unique tea consistency down.

To me, koicha matcha is divinity in a cup, especially with the right matcha powder.  The delicate nature of the growth of the Japanese tencha leaves gives it a slightly sweet kelp flavor that is distinct, yet some matcha powders, if not properly grown tend to be bitter.  Since it is something I enjoy I want to prepare the full experience for guests, which is what leads me to my quest to host as close to a proper Japanese Tea Ceremony or chanoyu, as I can.

Now I find myself on the search for the right ceremonial set.  The set usually consists of a ceramic tea bowl, a bamboo whisk, a bamboo scoop and scoop holder, which sometimes is also ceramic.  Beautiful new sets exist, but being the vintage lover that I am, I’d like to reuse something that someone might not want anymore. The trouble I am having is finding a vintage chawan, or traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony ceramic tea bowl, that speaks to me.  There are beautiful creations coming from specialty ceramic makers in Japan however there are collections of antique ceramics that are, while gorgeous, they also cost a pretty penny.

A vintage set worth $395

Searches online from Amazon to Pearl River Mart yielded no results of major significance, so alas I set out on foot to find something that strikes me. Stay tuned as I continue my quest for the perfect chawan, and I will share my discoveries soon!

Attempting a Galette de Rois/Epiphany or King’s Cake Recipe

Gentl and Hyers for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Gozde Eker

I have an obsession that started about 7 years ago when I was first introduced to French Kings Cake by a French VP for a designer jewelry line I worked for in midtown Manhattan. Our local Le Pain Quotidien created a pretty masterful rendition of the traditional Kings cake.  Simple, flaky and creamy where it mattered. I was thrilled by his surprise morning delivery of such an elegant yet rustic looking dessert.

I have since had the pleasure of tasting different variations, most recently from Maison Kayser, which almost hit the level of perfect decadence that Le Pain was able to achieve. 

I want to know, which is your favorite Kings Cake/Galette De Rois? Do you have a tried and true recipe you are willing to share?

I want to attempt my own Galette de Rois and I really want to start with this New York Time’s recipe. Wish me luck and I will check in with my success or failure!

Exploring Natural Remedies for a Brutal Cold Season

This season has seen its share of raging viruses and unbearable infections, attacking even the most impenetrable immune systems.  Many I know who haven’t seen a cold in years felt it this year.  As I navigate my second head cold of the year I want to take a moment to navigate an array of different natural treatments of my common cold symptoms.

One of my favorite food remedies for any kind of sickness is chicken soup, something I cannot live without when I am feeling unwell.  I realized how essential chicken soup was for healing during my last head cold. I had already subjected myself to decongestants and cough syrup, however I finally caved and ate fresh chicken soup, and the relief was immediate. I’ll share my favorite recipe later but I must now remember and promise myself that freshly made chicken soup will always be my starting point.

Hot liquids in general have always soothed me during upper respiratory battles.  Since I am also a big fan of tea I have discovered a few different types of tea to me to help with cough, congestion and boosting immunity. I never thought to try a citrus black tea but I have had the most relief from it! One of my new under-the-weather soothing teas is Limoncello black tea from Sipology by Steeped Tea.

Growing up in a Hispanic household I was also treated to a host of unusual remedies with the goal of ridding us of coughs, stomach bugs, lethargy etc. One of my favorite remedies growing up was recommended to me in high school by a classmate that swore mixing honey and liquefied spoonful of raw onion twice a day would help even the worst bouts of congestion. I particularly felt relief from this, and no matter how gross it seems, the combination seemed to help.

My business neighbor, Anel, who runs a pressed juice/smoothie and natural health goods shop (which is a blessing during such a turbulent cold season) recommended that I try to crush clove of garlic into fresh squeezed lemon juice with a drop or two of honey. She advised that this would help me get rid of my sinus infection (because it is a viral infection it means there are no medicines like antibiotics to speed up the healing). So far I must say that today is the first day I feel somewhat normal, I feel like things are loosening and I don’t feel pressure pain, so I am adding this to my list of go-to remedies!

I would love to chat about your favorite remedies and try a few out! Post in the comments below your tried and true natural remedies!

Welcome to the Demitasse Lass!

Thanks for joining me and reading along!

My name is Lainey, I am a small business owner and mom, trying to get back into writing and pushing myself to grow and discover new things.

I created this as a lifestyle and general interest blog to find a new way to meet new people and share all of my obsessions from vintage finds to my latest recipe concoctions, and create a social space to share general interests and new projects!

With the desire to be more social, I also created a Facebook Group in support of this blog where we can host live discussions and where I can learn more about you!

I hope you will find useful tidbits here and share with me your experience with the broad topics I hope to cover here, (also, show me your vintage!)

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton