Strawberry Pistachio White Chocolate Bark…

Blender On Sale

Blender On Sale

Almost too pretty to eat!  Perfect for a wedding or baby shower ~ maybe display them in a glass container in your kitchen and eat them all yourself! Either way…

Photo Funio

Photo Funio

The Art of Picture Placement…

Decor Pad

Decor Pad

My idea of picture placement is holding a frame or frames up to the wall, guesstimating where they should go and then hammering in a series of nails (it should really be only one or two nails per picture but I have yet to convince myself that closing one eye and squinting is not a replacement for a level and a template).  I’m trying to work on this.  I created a post a few months ago full of photo gallery wall templates and in an attempt to hone my skills I gave one a shot on the wall above my bed.  Here is the before and after…

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

I love the results but the series of templates I came across today are the best yet – they give you the placement and the frame sizes you need to create a beautiful gallery wall.  I’m almost inspired to start on another picture project!  Check them out and see if they can help you master the art of picture placement.

Adorable Decor

Adorable Decor

Irish Coffee Brownies…

 

Confident Kitchen

Confident Kitchen

Chocolate is a remedy for many things.  Chocolate, Irish Whiskey and freshly brewed coffee baked into brownie form and served warm is a remedy for EVERYTHING.  Don’t take my word for it, give it a try!  You should eat at least 2-3 to make sure my hypothesis is correct.

via Confident Kitchen

Irish Coffee Brownies

Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Irish Whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon Irish Whiskey
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions
1. Heat granulated sugar, butter or margarine, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder in a large saucepan over medium heat until butter or margarine melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat lightly just until combined,
2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl; set aside. Stir together milk and 1/4 cup whiskey; stir in coffee crystals. Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to the chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Stir in nuts. Pour into a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.
3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
4. Meanwhile, for the Irish Coffee Glaze, stir together sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey, and 1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla. Stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons brewed coffee until of drizzling consistency.
5. If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped nuts. Makes 36 brownies.

5 Classically Cool Ways to Use Mason Jars in the Kitchen…

Photo Bucket

Photo Bucket

Is there anything that we haven’t done to the mason jar?  Paint it, illuminate it, fill it with buttons and hang it from the bottom of our cabinets.  I can’t really point the finger – I recently bought a $7 bag of coffee beans just so I could dump it into a mason jar and top it off with a tea light.

These handy little jars used to have a purpose, though – my grandmother used them to store homemade apple butter (and a fly one Christmas…which also happened to be the last Christmas I ate apple butter).  But I love the idea of using them for serving food; it’s practical and trendy and after all, that’s what they were made for…I think!  Pinterest might prove me wrong there.

So, here are 5 Classically Cool Ways to Use Mason Jars in the Kitchen…

#1.  Cupcake in a Jar

My Cakies

My Cakies

This idea makes me smile.  It’s so simple and ingenious and endlessly cute all at once!  Can you see these at a baby shower or an outdoor vintage wedding?  They would make such a cute gift around Christmas time!  Perfect for the kids to help make and eat…love this idea.

#2.  Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

The Yummy Life

The Yummy Life

Made with a base of Greek yogurt and old-fashioned rolled oats you can pretty much add in anything else you like – including fresh fruit, seeds and nuts!  Make these ahead and have a healthy breakfast ready for the whole family all week-long.  This is eaten cold so think of it more like yogurt and granola (which would also be really good!)

#3.  S’Mores in a Jar

Phar-Ma

Phar-Ma

I know we were just talking about being healthy and everything but – S’Mores in a Jar, people.  PharMa suggests using butter and brown sugar along with the classic chocolate pieces, marshmallows and graham crackers and I will not argue with her.  Never wait for a campfire again!

#4.  Single Serving Pie in a Jar

Our Best Bites

Our Best Bites

Best idea ever.  Use store-bought pie crust or homemade, line the inside of your jars, fill with fruit and freeze.  Pull them out and bake for a single serving or send a few as a gift.  Follow the link for more information – they have really cute gift tag ideas to go along with these, recipe suggestions and presentation options for mason jar pies!

#5.  Mason Jar Chicken Cordon Blue

Big Red Kitchen

Big Red Kitchen

Big Red Kitchen

Big Red Kitchen

We did a lot of sweet so we’ll end with savory.  Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of my absolute favorite things – this is the traditional dish made with fresh chicken, ham and Swiss cheese along with breadcrumbs, butter and herbs.  Bake and let cool…seal up your mason jar and pop them in the freezer!  Eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner…or all three ( I would).  Follow the link for preparation and baking instructions.  Mmmmmmm.

Champagne Mint Juleps…Classy Mother’s Day Cocktail

theKitchn

theKitchn

In a ‘Toast to the Great Gatsby’ the Kitchn is featuring a recipe for Champagne Mint Juleps; a nod to the 1920’s and a celebratory Mother’s Day cocktail all in one.  It’s fun and nostalgic and looks beautiful – perfect for an outdoor brunch this weekend!  If your mother-in-law is coming, too… make it a double.  Just kidding : )

theKitchn

theKitchn

The author suggests a specific champagne:  Cavicchioli 1928; under $15 a bottle chosen for its creamy bubbly nature and peach nectar perfume.  If this brand is too hard to come by, try substituting with a sparkling Moscato.

theKitchn

theKitchn

via theKitchn

My Champagne Mint Julep

Serves 1

3-4 fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
3 ounces of Cavicchioli 1928, Sparkling Wine, NV, very well chilled

In a champagne flute, add the mint leaves (twisting them as you add to release their flavor and aroma) and the bourbon, and muddle with the end of a spoon. Top with the chilled Cavicchioli and enjoy.

DIY Decoupage Table

Cool idea for refinishing a table top…easy weekend DIY?

Style & Influence

Re-decorating your flat shouldn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. I hate to spend a lot of money on anything and I don’t think it’s too difficult to spruce things up at home without breaking the bank.

So I have a cheap and cheerful DIY plan to update my little flat over the next year(s). My first project was to decoupage my kitchen table top…

Equipment:

  • Coarse sand paper
  • A selection of imagesPVA glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Tea towel /cloth
  • Scalpel
  • Clear varnish (Matte or Shine)

1. Start by getting your images ready. You can stick with a theme or go completely random. I chose a Japanese print theme.EquipmentTop Tip: If like me you are impatient and you don’t want to spend 6 months collecting enough images to cover your table top. Why not use an out of date calendar? If you don’t have one…

View original post 168 more words

How to Create an Indoor Flowering Cactus Garden…

 

Obaz

Obaz

Living in an apartment we’re always looking for new ways to bring the outdoors in.  Flowers are great but expensive…enter the indoor desert oasis of the mini cactus garden.  It’s adorable, right?  The textures and colors make this perfect for adding visual interest to the flat lines of your kitchen or bathroom and it’s easy to do.

A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess

via HGTV

When to Start: Spring

At Its Best: Early Summer

Time to Complete: 1 1/2 hours

Materials Needed:

  • shallow planting bowl
  • pebbles
  • cacti soil
  • sand
  • newspaper
  • spoon
  • heavy-duty gloves
  • watering can
  • miniature cacti; this selection includes: silver torch cactus, Mammillaria, elephant-ear pricklypear and Rebutia

Before You Start

Cacti famously survive on little water, but if you want them to grow and flower they should actually be watered regularly during the growing season. Giving them a thorough watering before planting will help the roots make good contact with the new soil, and they should grow very well.

HGTV

HGTV

Aid Drainage

All cacti hate to sit in water, so make sure it will run freely through the growing medium, and out of the bottom of the pot. The container should have lots of drainage holes, covered by a layer of pebbles, to prevent the soil from clogging up the holes.

HGTV

HGTV

Set Out the Plants

Put on your protective gloves and start arranging your plants. If you have chosen the position for each of your cacti before you start, planting will be easier and you are more likely to end up with a good overall effect. It makes sense to put smaller ones at the front and larger ones at the back, but also consider planting those with different habits, textures and flower color next to each other.

HGTV

HGTV

Planting Tips

Wrap a folded strip of newspaper around the top of the plant. This will help you slide it out of its pot and maneuver it into the larger planter without getting spines or fine hairs in your fingers. It also protects the plant.

HGTV

HGTV

Fill in the Gaps

Once the plants are in position, use a spoon to carefully fill the gaps between them with a cacti soil. Add small amounts of soil at a time and keep firming it down with the back of a spoon to ensure that there are no air holes left around the plant roots.

HGTV

HGTV

Brush Off Soil

No matter how careful you are, some soil will inevitably get caught in the cactus spines and hairs. Use a soft brush to remove it and to keep the plants looking clean and neat.

HGTV

HGTV

Water the Plants

Water all the plants in well. In summer, they can be watered whenever the surface of the soil dries out. In winter, they should be left dry; start watering again sparingly when you see signs of growth in spring.

HGTV

HGTV

Apply a Sand Mulch

Use the spoon to spread fine sand around the surface of the planter. This helps water quickly drain away from the surface, preventing rot, and gives the planter an authentic desertlike appearance. Set your arrangement in a bright, sunny position.

HGTV

HGTV

Top Tip: Watering Crowded Pots

Cacti are often sold when the plants are almost overflowing the sides of their pots, making it tricky to water them properly before planting. Sit these in a container of water until the root ball is damp.

HGTV

HGTV

8 Steps to the Perfect Table Setting…Elle Decor and Nate Berkus

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

There are plenty of posts out there on how to set a table for a get together or dinner party but I love this one by Nate Berkus for Elle Decor because it’s so simple.  The table is worn and the centerpiece is made up of things you have lying around the house.  After all, it’s not about what you have, right…it’s how you put it together! 

If you’re hosting a Mother’s Day brunch or dinner over the weekend this might come in handy.

STEP #1.  START WITH A BLANK SLATE

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

You should be inspired already; chances are you’re starting out with a table that looks better than this ; )

STEP #2.  GET YOURSELF A TABLECLOTH

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

I tend to gravitate towards bright colorful tablecloths, especially this time of year.  If you start with a simple pattern like stripes though, or one with a neutral base, it’s easier to build on.  Berkus suggests customizing your linen – find a fabric you like and hem the edges or have someone like your local dry cleaner do it for you.

STEP #3.  ADD A BIT OF CONTRAST WITH A TABLE RUNNER

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

This is where a good eye comes in handy.  Find something that matches but doesn’t?  I think that’s the idea.  Look for hints of color that will continue throughout the rest of the setting in dishware and in the main centerpiece.

STEP #4.  GET THAT CENTERPIECE GOING

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Grab things from around your house – pretty serving trays, vases and glassware with varying heights.  Nate’s rule: keep it low.  Too much height and people have to stand up to talk to each other across the table; not good. 

STEP #5.  PUT TOGETHER THE FIRST PLACE SETTING

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

When creating the place settings, Berkus suggests that you use one classic piece paired with an unexpected one…interesting.  Here he used a classic plate with gold flatware for a touch of glamour. 

STEP #6.  MIX THINGS UP

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Let lose a little; your plates don’t have to match as long as they stay within the same color palette.  If you’re a thrifter like I am this is a great excuse to sort through some of those donated dishes and come up with a really eclectic mix of styles and sizes.  Add a pretty napkin to introduce a new pop of color.

STEP #7.  FLOWER POWER

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Here Nate suggests keeping it simple.  Instead of a mixed bouquet of flowers, try staying monochromatic and sticking with a single flower species.  Use three to five vases to create height and movement.

STEP #8.  ADD LAYERS OF GLASSWARE

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Use wine and water glasses in metallic or clear glass – those beautiful little gold ones are by Jayson Home and I love them.  What a pretty detail to add to the table, right?

So, are you inspired to start setting your table?!?

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants…

Food Republic

Food Republic

Once a year Restaurant magazine releases its list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants voted on by 900 international restaurant industry experts.  It’s a coveted award and unique in the fact that any restaurant can be considered – regardless of the star level or grading – it’s the best of the best when food is the deciding factor.

The global restaurant scene is divided into 26 separate regions, each region having its own panel of 36 food experts – food critics, chefs, restauranteurs or otherwise  well versed “foodies” – and a chairperson to head things up.  Each panelist has 7 votes; 3 of which must be used outside their region.

So here it is; The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013

  1. El Celler de Can Roca (Spain)
  2. Noma (Denmark)
  3. Osteria Francescana (Italy)
  4. Mugaritz (Spain)
  5. Eleven Madison Park (USA)
  6. DOM (Brazil)
  7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (England)
  8. Arzak (Spain)
  9. Steirereck (Austria)
  10. Vendôme (Germany)
  11. Per Se (USA)
  12. Frantzen / Lindeberg (Sweden)
  13. The Ledbury (England)
  14. Astrid y Gastón (Peru)
  15. Alinea (USA)
  16. L’Arpege (France)
  17. Pujol (Mexico)
  18. Le Chateaubriand (France)
  19. Le Bernardin (USA)
  20. Narisawa (Japan)
  21. Attica (Australia)
  22. Nihonryori Ryugin (Japan)
  23. L’Astrance (France)
  24. Saint-Germain L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (France)
  25. Hof Van Cleve (Belgium)
  26. Quique Dacosta (Spain)
  27. Le Calandre (Italy)
  28. Mirazur (France)
  29. Daniel (USA)
  30. Aqua (Germany)
  31. Biko (Mexico)
  32. Nahm (Thailand)
  33. The Fat Duck (England)
  34. Faviken (Sweden)
  35. Oud Sluis (Netherlands)
  36. Amber (China)
  37. Vila Joya (Portugal)
  38. Restaurant Andre (Singapore)
  39. 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana (China)
  40. Combal.Zero (Italy)
  41. Piazza Duomo (Italy)
  42. Schloss Schauenstein (Switzerland)
  43. Mr & Mrs Bund (China)
  44. Asador Etxebarri (Spain)
  45. Geranium (Denmark)
  46. Maní (Brazil)
  47. The French Laundry (USA)
  48. Quay (Australia)
  49. Septime (France)
  50. Central (Peru)

Restaurants from the United States:

#5 Eleven Madison Park, New York City

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park

#11 Per Se, New York City

Trip Advisor / Per Se, New York

Trip Advisor / Per Se, New York

#15 Alinea, Chicago

A Life Worth Eating /  Alinea, Chicago

A Life Worth Eating / Alinea, Chicago

#19 Le Bernardin, New York City

Grand Forks Gourmet / La Bernadin, New York City

Grand Forks Gourmet / La Bernadin, New York City

#29 Daniel, New York City

D'Artagnan / Daniel, New York City

D’Artagnan / Daniel, New York City

#47 The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Wineormous / The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Wineormous / The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Design Inspiration…Robyn Glaser and Emily Henderson

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Design Milk asked Emily Henderson, HGTV designer and host of Secrets from a Stylist, to share 5 of her favorite things.  She’s on of my favorite designers and it turns out that one of her favorites is prop stylist, Robyn Glaser.

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Have you ever found yourself flipping through a magazine and being drawn in by the set design and add concept as much as the merchandise being featured?  Well, that’s Robyn and her clients include Anthropologie, Target, Tiffany’s, Harper’s Baazar, New York Magazine, Neiman Marcus and Urban Outfitters to name a few.  On top of that she also does cook books and food editorials including Bon Appetit and Food Network Magazine.

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Robyn Glaser

Looking at her portfolio reminds me that there’s an art in putting things together – but what strikes me the most in her set design is the casual way that life is represented.  A crowded dining table, a messy couch, an ordinary dining room with extraordinary color.  It’s life – the beauty is in how you look at it.

n034

Robyn Glaser

Which brings me back to Emily Henderson and why she’s always been one of my favorites.  Whether it’s a $5,000 couch or a thrift store save, Emily brings it all together in a beautifully livable way.  Style should be relatable and comfortable and both of these women do a really good job representing it that way.

One Kings Lane / Emily Henderson

One Kings Lane / Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson

So, where do you get your inspiration from?  Do you have a favorite designer or magazine that inspires the look of your home?