Friday Favorites

November 28, 2014

Yesterday was pretty much perfect; we gathered at my aunt's house, and stuffed our bellies with good food and our hearts with lots of love and laughter. It was loud and a little rowdy (in the best way, of course) and fun, and a beautiful reminder that I have so much to be thankful for, every day. It was also pretty magical to see my little girls playing with all of their cousins. This weekend I'm looking forward to finally getting a jump on my holiday shopping (though I'm standing in solidarity with protestors against police brutality and boycotting Black Friday). I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday that continues on to the weekend. God bless!

A beautiful holiday space

Bourbon spiked hot chocolate.

Jewelry as pie decoration

This glittery top coat.  

A tailgating brunch with cocktails and cute letter donuts.

Must Have: Chaser Faux Fur Color Blocked Moto Jacket

November 26, 2014

I've seen a few great faux fur jackets this season, but this one is definitely one of my favorites; I'm a big fan of pink and I love moto jackets, so it's pretty much perfect. And since it doesn't get extremely cold in Southern California, I can throw this on sans scarf and feel completely cozy.

Easy Appetizers: Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Prosciutto and Basil

November 25, 2014

A couple of weeks after I had my baby last year, my friend Kylie came over with ingredients to make what has become a favorite snack in our house: crostini layered with goat cheese, fig jam, basil, and prosciutto. Aside from being delicious (the tangy-salty-sweet combo is insane), these little crostini look pretty for a party and couldn't be easier to make. Simply layer each crostini with goat cheese, a small dollop of fig jam (I used Royal fig jam), fresh basil leaves, and a third of a slice of proscuitto. Enjoy!

If you can't find already-made crostini at your store, buy a baguette, slice it into 2-inch thick slices, brush with olive oil and bake at 350° for about 8-10 minutes.

Friday Favorites

November 21, 2014

This week seemed to fly by, and I couldn't be happier about it. My little one is off from school next week, which means we'll get to do all kinds of fun activities together before the holiday. And of course I'm excited for Thanksgiving! My family is big and loud with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins, and now a whole new generation of little ones to be thankful for. What are your Thanksgiving plans?  Have an amazing weekend, and God bless!

A really cute centerpiece for next Thursday.

Sausage stuffed mushrooms that just might be the perfect Thanksgiving app.

Quotes from Valentino. (He says he eats lots of chocolate; I think we are kindred spirits).

A sweet macaron print

Lots and lots of fringe--perfect for a holiday party and beyond.

10 Things to Freeze in Ice Trays

November 20, 2014

That humble plastic ice cube tray that you never give much thought to is good for more than just freezing water to chill your beverages.  Freezing foods, liquids, and even flowers is a convenient way to cook small amounts (each little square is about an ounce), and great for reusing leftovers instead of throwing them out. Here are ten things you can, and should, freeze to make life a little simpler.

1. Olive oil with chopped, fresh herbs or garlic
This is great for sauteing chicken or seafood, making sauces, or dipping bread once its thawed.

2. Wine
Use the cubes to chill sangria or other wine-based cocktails or use them in recipes that call for wine, such as bolognese or buerre blanc. Obviously you don't want to mix whites with reds, but also be mindful of mixing drier wines with sweet ones.

3. Coffee
Keep iced coffee from tasting watered down by using coffee ice cubes instead of regular ice.

4. Simple syrup 
These cubes will act as a sweetener; add them to unsweetened ice teas and beverages.

5. Fresh mint and strawberries
Freeze fresh mint and strawberries in a little water to make sparkling water even more refreshing. These are also great for lemonade.

6. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
If you got leftover lemons, freeze the juice and use it later for recipes or to flavor water. 

7. Rose buds and petals
Freeze small rose buds and petals in water, then use the cubes in ice buckets or on a tray to chill champagne. It makes for a gorgeous presentation. 

8. Yogurt
An instant snack for the little ones. Insert small popsicle sticks to make it easier for tiny hands to hold.

9. Leftover gravies and sauces
If you make too much of a sauce or gravy, freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays, then you can thaw and reheat only as much as needed.

10. Homemade cookie dough
Instead of baking a whole batch, you can pop these out and bake just one, two, or the entire tray if you want.

Must Have: Confetti Cocktail Muddler

November 19, 2014

These are simply adorable, aren't they? The circle and star confetti is actually engraved into solid wood, so I know they'll be sturdy enough to last for years and years. And since I don't already own a cocktail muddler (how, how is that even possible?), it's also a very practical purchase. I'm thinking of some sort of blackberry mojito situation--this weekend perhaps.

Comfort and Joy: Comfort Foods with a Twist

November 18, 2014

When the temperature drops, a cold kale salad just can't compare to a bowl of hot soup or a plate of gooey mac and cheese. Cold days that turn into long, chilly evenings call for warm and soothing comfort foods.  Here, five culinary comforts that have been remixed to make them even better.

This dish brings two separate comfort foods together, then tops them with bacon.

Never mind dipping your grilled cheese into your tomato soup--make croutons out of it.

The carb-y goodness of soft beer pretzels made even better with a creamy, bacon-y filling.

The perfect crispy, hot, cheesy snack for watching football on Sunday. 

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food; this recipe kicks it up with jalapenos and buffalo chicken.

Friday Favorites

November 14, 2014

It's the middle of November and I'm at the point in the holiday season when I'm really starting to get excited. I've been listening to Christmas music all week and looking at page after page of holiday campaigns. I haven't done any shopping yet (which fills me with anxiety but is quite exhilarating at the same time) but I'm hoping to get a little done this weekend. I hope you have an awesome weekend too. God bless!

A roundup of ridiculously cute holiday ornaments

Pretty little tubes of sparkle and magic.  

Dark chocolate oatmeal cookie bars.

Tips for decorating with neutral tones. (This space is ridiculously stylish, no?)

Faux fur earmuffs.

5 Gorgeous Holiday Cocktails

November 13, 2014

If you're doing any entertaining this holiday season it's time to start planning your menu, and that includes presentation. A beautifully presented holiday cocktail will impress your guests and help set the theme of your soiree. Here are five signature drinks that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. 

A seasonal spin on the Moscow Mule. 

Sweet and refreshing candy cane meets a sophisticated martini.

Vanilla and cranberries pair up for this skinny cocktail. 

Homemade eggnog ladled into martini glasses looks much more chic than a big, obtrusive punch bowl. 

A sweet sangria made and garnished with seasonal fruit looks almost too pretty to drink.

Must Have: Gorman Dot Apron

November 12, 2014

I don't typically wear an apron when I'm cooking (and I cook a lot) but I'm convinced I'll be more legit in the kitchen if I do. This one is obviously adorable--the polka dots are super fun, and one can never have enough gold foil.

Fun Holiday DIYs for Kids

November 11, 2014

We've got just about a month and a half left before Christmas! Here are several fun crafts to do with your little ones this holiday season. 

1. Decorating gingerbread houses is a holiday must, but this peppermint house is a tasty alternative. 2. Homemade jingle bells are the perfect, simple craft for younger children.
3. I love the idea of homemade ornaments, and felt ball garlands are so fun and colorful for a holiday tree.
4. Kids can get creative with DIY wrapping paper
5. Could there be anything more easy than homemade sparkling snow?
6. Some festive washi tape and a few popsicle sticks, and the kiddos can make sweet little picture frames to give to their favorite people.
7. Little ones love snow globes, so making one with their own hands will make it even more special.
8. The countdown to Christmas is always more fun with an advent calendar.
9. If you haven't the time or patience to build a gingerbread house--ice cream cone Christmas trees.

Thank You

November 11, 2014

To our nation's heroes, the fearless men and women who have fought, and continue to fight to preserve our freedom--thank you!

image via

Iced Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel

November 7, 2014

Having a cup of coffee in the morning used to be just that, but lately I've been craving something sweet to go with my French roast. Instead of the usual cookie or Luna bar, this week I decided to try out a coffee cake recipe I've been sitting on for awhile. It's got a cinnamon streusel topping (which pairs well with coffee) below a thin layer of sweet icing that almost makes it feel like dessert. I'm thinking it'll be a great alternative to pie this Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake 
For the streusel topping:
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
½ brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or teaspoon ground nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves)
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup milk

For the icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk 
Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9x9 baking pan with nonstick spray. Start by making the streusel; mix flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon until well combined, then cut in cold butter and mix with fork to create a crumby consistency. 

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vegetable oil, maple syrup, and milk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined (the batter will be thick but don't overmix it). Spread batter into prepared pan, then top with streusel, pressing it down slightly into batter. Bake for 30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with just a couple of crumbs.

While the cake is baking, whisk confectioners' sugar and milk to make the icing. You can add more milk if you want a thinner icing. Drizzle over cake. This cake is amazing served warm with a cup of strong coffee. Enjoy!

Friday Favorites

November 7, 2014

Is it really November already?  I can't believe there are just a few short weeks before Thanksgiving, with Christmas and New Year's Eve shortly after. It truly is my favorite time of year and I'm so excited for this holiday season, however unprepared I may be. Since my only obligation is a birthday party on Sunday afternoon, I'm thinking this weekend will be the perfect time to get cracking on my holiday preparations. Have a wonderful weekend, and God bless! 

This girly (and free) downloadable wallpaper from Kate Spade.

The prettiest Christmas cookies.  

Classic plaid with a bright burst of sunny yellow.

This snuggly-looking DIY tassel blanket.

Fashion capitals prints.

DIY Glitter Pins/Hair Pins

November 5, 2014

I'm a big believer that a little sparkle is always a good thing, especially during the holidays. This DIY is about as easy as it gets, and it adds a sweet little dose of sparkle to make your look a little merrier. 

1. Trace the shape of your choice on a piece of wax paper (I used cookie cutters), then outline and fill it in with glue. Elmer's works well because it's really spreadable. Next, cover the glue completely with glitter and allow to dry overnight. 

2. Peel your glitter shape off the wax paper and glue fabric, such as felt, to the back to help hold the shape. It's a good idea cut your fabric as close to the same size as your glitter shape as possible. 

 3. Glue the pin and hair clip to the felt. I recommend Aleene's Tacky Glue or Fabric Fusion.

4. Allow the glue to dry for a few hours, or overnight.

You could also do smaller shapes and glue to bobby pins. 

Proudly designed by | mlekoshi Playground |