A Boston-Based Lifestyle Blog
If I was queen of anything, I think I’d probably be the queen of the last-minute DIY. I wish I was one of those bloggers that plans her awesome ideas months in advance so I could just hit publish a week before an event, but my best inspiration always seems to pop up the day before a holiday! Case and point: my derby day DIY epiphany popped into my head earlier this weekend. The good news is that this DIY concept can be used in dozens of different ways for many holidays to come, using gold clay and wooden skewers to make some horseshoe drink stirrers.
The instructions are simple: roll out modeling clay to about 1/4″ thickness and use an exacto-knife to cut out your shape — in this case, a simple horseshoe. Next, use a small wooden toothpick or dowel to add details before popping the pieces in a 275 degree oven for 15 minutes. Once the pieces have cooked, hardened, and cooled, use a tiny drop of hot glue to affix to a wooden skewer. Let the glue set and you’re ready to pop them into a mint julep or cocktail of your choice!
When I was down in Austin, TX for work last month I popped into Royal Blue Grocery for a quick bite in the morning, and tried a breakfast burrito for the very first time in my life. What was I thinking? Thirty years on this earth before I tasted a breakfast burrito! I managed to eat a new flavor combination every morning for the rest of my trip, and when I got back I was determined to recreate them at home. One of the best versions I ate had chopped up potatoes inside so I decided to take this concept to the next level: I used steamed tortillas to roll-up scrambled eggs, melted sharp cheddar cheese, chopped up fresh scallions, and some red-bliss mashed potatoes with lots of salt and pepper. Oh-em-gee are these tasty, and such a good way to use up leftover potatoes from dinner the night before. If you’re feeling really crazy try adding some chorizo too!
Why is it that of all of the party wares you can buy, that drinkware is always the most plain and boring? I mean, what’s more fun than DRINKS people? I have found it quite tough to find fun, festive options for disposable glasses, so I decided to come up with a way to make them more festive on my own — this is such a simple idea that I’m kind of kicking myself for not coming up with it earlier. I purchased simple clear plastic cups from the party store and then used printable colored labels from Paper Source to write out a fun phrase (since these were for a morning event, I wrote “good mornin’ sunshine” on the stickers). After printing them out at home, I simply adhered the stickers to the cups before serving a tasty rosemary lemonade in them. I’m positive I’ll be replicating this idea for many parties in my future!
This past weekend I was delighted to partner with one of my favorite brands — Madewell — for a fun spring shopping event. I became a Madewell convert the day I walked into their Natick store and was completely deflated that I couldn’t find denim that fit my body anywhere. One of the lovely stylists helped me try on their denim line until I found not one, but two! perfect pairs of denim; now every pair of jeans in my closet is from Madewell now. While everyone shopped they sipped on mimosas and a rosemary infused lemonade I mixed up. EAT Boutique was also on site hosting a pop-up shop with spring treats, and Maggie of Eat Boutique made some pretty tasty tomato tarts from her new cookbook: Food Gift Love for everyone to enjoy — it was a fun little fete to cap of the weekend!
I found the most darling sprinkles in the Easter section at Target and had to find a way to use them this weekend (to justify buying another bottle of sprinkles, you know?). I took a classic cheesecake recipe and stirred them into the batter for a funfetti-style look — don’t they look like they’re watercolored on top? I also mixed up the recipe and used gluten free cookies in lieu of a graham cracker crust to make them gluten-free for a few the guests and my in-law’s Easter dinner — a simple swap-out and they tasted nearly the same! And for a festive look I nestled them in some Easter grass on a big serving plate — like little eggs in a basket.
I think we all deserve a little extra perk of Spring-y goodness in our Easter celebrations this weekend after the winter that we’ve had, right? So I thought up a fun party detail: bunny straws! The assembly is simple: cut out a small white outline of a bunny head; using a glue stick add on small nose and pinks of the ears. Finish them off with a hand drawn set of eyes and whiskers. Then glue the bunnies right to the striped straw (I chose pink and green ones!), leaving enough room so that they’ll pop out of the glass, but don’t touch the top of the straw. I can’t wait to pop these cute little guys into a mimosa this weekend!
Sometimes I’m a blog slacker… like this past week, I slacked so hard. But I have some pretty pictures of what I’ve been working on to prove that I was doing more than just catching up on my Netflix (but PS: I’ve been watching lots of Netflix too — Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, people — watch it!). I spent the whole weekend prepping and the last few days working on a really fun project with Backyard Farms styling some of their tomato-packed recipes. It was tons of fun and I’m feeling so ready for some warm-weather cooking after being inspired by the bright colors and flavors. Now my next task: what to make with all of my leftover tomatoes?
Do you have one of those family recipes that is a given menu item at every gathering? My husband’s family always makes a special chocolate cake with chocolate sauce, our neighbors growing up always served rice krispy treats at every birthday party, and at our house that dessert item is Chocolate Chip Cake. This cake is the one that gets requested by everyone for their birthdays, and it’s such a crowd-pleaser. I think the sour cream batter is what makes it so addictive. It’s one of the recipes that’s been around forever — so long in fact that I wasn’t even sure where it came from. I had to call my mom, who in turn had to call my grandmother to find out. It turns out it was from a neighbor of my grandparents who made the cake for parties, no frosting meant it was less messy for the kids! And now it’s my turn to pass it along, full recipe below! (PS: see that lovely cake stand pictured? I’m partnering with the fine folks at AHeirloom to give one away on my instagram account this week — be sure to head over to enter to win!)Ingredients:
- 1 stick of butter at room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar, plus 1/4 cup for topping
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 cups of flour
- 1.5 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 package of chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cream together 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 eggs with an electric mixer.
- Add in 1 cup of sour cream and 2 tsp of vanilla extract, continue to mix together.
- Sift 2 cups of flour, 1.5 tsp of baking powder, and 1 tsp of baking soda; stir dry mixture into wet ingredients.
- Pour half of the batter into a 9×13 baking dish and then layer half of the chocolate chips on top.
- Add second half of batter and top with the rest of the chocolate chips. Sprinkle the top with 1/4 of sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, let the cake cool before cutting.
Alright friends, I’m in a winter-cooking slump and I’m calling out for help. I’ve been through my Pinterest boards, my favorite cookbooks, and even that pile of torn-out recipes I keep in a binder in my kitchen. Sure, I’ve found some ideas for dinner parties or a leisurely Sunday afternoon of slow-roasting something decadent — but I’m looking for weeknight recipes that I can make in 30-40 minutes after work (oh and somewhat healthy would be great too, since I’ve been eating like I’m already storing up for calories for next winter). So — can you help me? Would love your ideas! Leave them in the comments!