7.28.2014

YES YOU CAN MAKE: CLASSY FUNFETTI OMBRE LAYER CAKE


I have a few things on my baking/cooking bucket list. They include making bread (need to gather the courage), perfecting the popover (check) and mastering the layer cake. To me, the layer cake is a baking achievement. Layers of cake and frosting precariously perched atop each other. There are so many things that can go wrong. How is the ratio of frosting to cake? Is the cake more like a leaning tower? Are the layers the right height? And on and on. So you can understand why I would be hesitant to start. But start I did, and I had the perfect excuse because it was my sister's birthday (just two days before mine!)

When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, she told me Funfetti. I quietly breathed a sigh of relief because boxed cake was a good place to start for a cake beginner like me. So I went to Walgreens (where all good food purchases are made) and bought two boxes of good 'ole Pillsbury Funfetti and accompanying frosting. Who know's what is in this stuff but today we aren't thinking about that.

Then I marched over to Sur la Table and proceeded to buy an 8 in cake pan. A few things. First, make sure you buy a pan with straight up and down sides. Also, I got a tall one because I figured, in the future, I could just make a large cake and slice it in half to make a two layer cake. Lastly, they might try and convince you to buy two. I personally think that this isn't necessary unless you are a) always short on time and b) making a lot of cakes. So, I go up to the register and am going to buy my cake pan, and the guy asked me what kind of cake I am making. Afraid to speak the truth and admit I am making boxed cake, Funfetti nonetheless, I blurt out "Um, yeah I am making…vanilla…with coconut frosting." No idea where that came from, but my mission was clear to me: make Funfetti classy.

Ingredients:
1 Box of Cake Mix (plus ingredients water, eggs, oil)
1-2 Cans of frosting (mine came with sprinkles!)

Step No. 1

Prepare mix based on instructions on box.




Step No. 2

Separate batter into three bowls.


Step No. 3

Color each bowl starting with the lightest and darken.


Step No. 4

My mom told me this trick after I made these cakes and it would have been great to know before. Trace parchment paper in a circle around the bottom of the pan. Place parchment circle in the bottom of the pan and pour one of the bowls of batter into the pan. Bake for approx. 20 minutes until top is light brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Repeat with all three bowls of batter.


Step No. 5

Wrap each layer in saran wrap and place in freezer overnight (or at least a few hours) This trick makes it much easier to handle.

Step No. 6

Trim each layer with a sharp knife so the top is even.


Step No. 7

Place on a plate and spread frosting evenly across the cake. Repeat with all three layers (making even and spreading frosting)


Step No. 8

Spread a thin layer around the cake. This is called a crumb coat. It keeps all of the crumbs in place so they dont make it into the outer layer of frosting. Once you have done this, put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.


Step No. 9

Spread remaining frosting around the cake. I used these cute sprinkles that came with the frosting. I wanted to keep it minimalistic but with a little color. Love how it turned out.



I make this banner using water colored paper and my still-getting-better calligraphy skills.


A few cupcake friends.


Here is the cake with its friends.



Ombre goodness.


Not bad for the first time.



7.24.2014

YES YOU CAN MAKE: FIG FLOWERS WITH GORGONZOLA AND HONEY


You don't mess with a good thing. Good philosophy in life, even better philosophy for preparing figs. No need to make them all fancy, just present them in their fresh glory. I could munch on these all day but add a little savory gorgonzola and they transition to the perfect appetizer.

Nothing much to this preparation, so its perfect for throwing together at a moments notice. Let's get started…

Ingredients:

5-8 figs
1/4 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons of honey
Optional: balsamic reduction, nuts



Step No. 1

Slice the top off of each fig. Then cut two perpendicular lines. Don't cut all the way to the bottom, you want just a little to remain uncut at the bottom.


Step No. 2

Place the figs on a plate. Open the fig and add a tablespoon or so of crumbled gorgonzola in the middle of each one.


Step No. 3

Drizzle honey across the figs and gorgonzola.



Step No. 4

You can add nuts and balsamic reduction if you are feeling fancy. Or you can just keep it simple. When guests pick up the fig, the gorgonzola folds into the middle and creates a perfect bite of salty and sweet.


7.23.2014

PERFECT BEACH PICKS WITH SERENA & LILY


During the summers, when I was growing up, we would visit Nantucket off of the coast of Massachusetts. Everything there was so picturesque from the historic brick buildings to the white picket fences and bright blue hydrangeas. We would rent bikes, pack a lunch and our swimsuit and venture to the other side of the island for a picnic. I have so many wonderful memories of those summer trips.

To me, Serena & Lily encapsulates that easy-going elegance that I found in the little island of Nantucket. I have partnered with Serena & Lily to put together a few perfect things for the beach. I especially love their new pareos which can be used for all sorts of things like a after beach cover-up or a spontaneous picnic blanket or towel. Add in some shades, rosé and a good book, and you'll be the chicest one on the beach.






Also, for those of you that live in SF, they are having a trunkshow of these fun summer accessories (that aren't usually available in stores), in their beautiful San Francisco design shop on July 30th. All of the details are below. I would love to meet you in person at the event, and we can stock up for the perfect beach day!




Items above: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 9 / 10

This post is sponsored by Serena & Lily. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. 

7.22.2014

FOODIE FEST


I love trying out new recipes. I admit that I often get sucked into the Pinterest vortex and sometime my recipes dont turn out quite like the pretty pictures. I wanted to share some of my favorite foodie bloggers because they are constantly inspiring me to mix it up (both literally and figuratively)  I demand a lot of the food bloggers I follow, they not only have to develop delicious recipes but they have to have a great eye for styling and photography. These five foodies check all the boxes. Hopefully they will inspire you to try a new dish.

1. Joy the Baker - Really the queen of cooking, in my mind, her posts are hilarious, honest and she has a soft spot for sweets and fresh veggies.

2. How Sweet Eats - I think that her recipes are very approachable and often involve ingredients that you have on hand.

3. Bakers Royale - The recipes on this site are inventive but strike a good balance between complicated and easy to make. There is something here for everyone.

4.  Cookie and Kate - Another one of my weekly go-tos because she has great ideas for easy, healthy meals.

5. Call Me Cupcake - As a lover of food and photography, this is the jackpot. Her photos are styled incredibly (the recipes are pretty great too :-)




Bon appétit! 



7.21.2014

MAGNIFICENT MILES


Miles Redd is a favorite designer of mine. He decorates fearlessly with color and patterns. Althrough his interiors are nearly the opposite of my mainly neutral home, I still love his style. This home for the illustrious "OscarPRgirl" as she is known on social media or Erika Bearman in the real world, caught my eye. I love the undeniably girly touches like the pink bedroom or the stripe foyer. His use of colorful walls is truly inspiring.









Images from Elle Decor.


7.18.2014

STOCKING UP FOR FALL AT NORDY'S


If you are born in Seattle, you grow up with three cliches rain, coffee (preferably Starbucks) and Nordstrom. I am certainly no exception to that. My Nordstrom loyalty goes deep. There is nothing quite like the flagship downtown for covering all of your shopping needs. No this isn't a sponsored post, I just love it that much.

Each year, right around my birthday, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale takes place. While it signals the coming of fall, it has always been the perfect opportunity to stock up on essentials. Trying on cashmere in summer isn't easy, but someone has to do it, right?

Below is a list of my top ten picks from the sale. Believe me, I could have gone on all day. Its always hard to buy basics but those are what to really look for during the sale. You will be wearing them for months to come and glad that you went with black instead of turquoise. Here are a few of my favorites. I can't wait to wear the booties I got (#1) soon (maybe sooner than I thought with the fog here)

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7.17.2014

BIRTHDAY WISHES


I know lots of people that have summer birthdays (including me!) so I thought that it would be helpful to assemble a little list of perfect presents for summer babies. This list keeps it classic from wine glasses featured on my favorite show, Scandal, to fun (and affordable) jewelry pieces. This compilation has a distinctly European feel--perfect for someone that left their heart in Paris.





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