Friday, July 29, 2011


AHHH so stoked for this weekend. Dan and I have been wanting to have an L.A. weekend for quite some time now. My sweet cousin Emy just got an internship with FOX news and moved to Westwood L.A. for the summer! Lucky us, we get to crash with Em and our friend Bryce for the weekend. Here are a few places we are planning to hit up, maybe we'll see you there.

The Getty - A center well known for its famous art, architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles -- can't wait!I've never been and I've heard so many wonderful things about the Getty. The current exhibits feature Parisian artists and rich material ambiance of Paris during the mid-18th century. Oh my...I'm really going to love this!

The Grammy Museum - A museum that uses music as a gateway to learning; inspiring and cultivating creativity, critical-thinking and self-expression. Right now they have exhibits on The Beatles, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson etc.

The Edison - A lounge that retains architectural and mechanical artifacts; a homage to its history of the first private power plant of 1910 in Downtown LA. You enter the lounge through an alleyway! It's located in the sub-basement of the historic Higgins Building. Too cool! The whole lounge has an industrial gothic vibe of the early 1900's. Fun fact...the Edison sells martinis for 35 cents on Thursdays and Fridays. How fun!

Santee Alley - One of the most popular shopping areas in the LA Fashion District and downtown Los Angeles. It's best known for its festive atmosphere and amazing bargains; I like it for it's knock-off's of designer bags and shoes. Shhhhhh don't tell on me. Anything you need, you can find on Santee Alley -- from fluffy bunnies to taser guns, not so sure those are legal. Ha-ha.
Located within two blocks between Santee Street, Maple Avenue, Olympic Blvd., and 12th Street, "The Alley" is open 365 days a year from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Illy Espressamente - An authentic Italian-style café focused on coffee and light gastronomy. Illy food embodies the excellence of Italian cuisine, combining fresh, high-quality ingredients with the creative flare of the numerous chefs who created each recipe. Were going to the Cafe in the JW at LA Live!

Lake Street Creamy sure sounds amazing. I hope we can catch them! Click on their "find us" link to see where they're located for the day.

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and give you the complete update on our weekend when we get home! Yay!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DIY: Lanterns

Lanterns add pizzazz to parties, dinners, shindigs etc. Here are some fun DIY lanterns that will jazz up any special event.
P.S. Kids love making these too!

Cocktail Umbrella Lantern
Illuminate your outdoor soiree with a saucy summer lantern made from cocktail umbrellas.

Doily Tree Flowers
These are dainty and adorable. You can use a strand of Christmas tree lights! Wrap small paper doilies around the base of the each light. Secure with clear tape.

Fabric Makeover Lamp
Find your favorite fabric and cut the length and width of the lampshade circumference. Sew the fabric ends together and pull it over your lampshade. Vuala.

Tin Can Lanterns
Draw dot designs with a washable marker and then poke holes in the tin with a nail and hammer. Hang with a wire and place a candle inside. Simple and cute.

Pearl Lamp
Ooh la la, this is so pretty. You will need a wire cage and wire pearl strands.These pearl strands can be found at craft stores like Michael's in the flower or wedding section. Simply twist the pearls between the slats on the cage and hang you lantern with a metal chain and hook.

Tissue Pendant Lamps
These are fun looking! I would make these the same way as the cocktail umbrella lantern -- A paper lantern, glue and tissue paper. I've also seen these decorated with newspaper circles and thin book pages. Fun stuff.

Lace Lantern
BEAUTIFUL! This one takes a bit longer, but the finished product is magnificent. You will need lace doilies, a large balloon (found at party supply stores), string, wood or wall glue, a brush and a light with an extension cord.

1. Blow up your balloon to the desired size of your lamp and hang it from a string
2. Soak all of your lace doilies in glue and place them on your balloon. Make sure that the doilies overlap -- this will give your lamp more support
3. Once all of your doilies have been placed on the balloon, take you brush and coat the lamp once more.
4. Let the lamp dry for 24 hours or until the glue is hard.
5. Pop your balloon and carefully peal it away from the inside of the lamp.
6. Attach your light bulb and extension cord and secure it to the inside of the lamp...

Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shaker Lemon Pie with Vodka Pie Crust

My Dad makes the best pies! He’s a perfectionist at heart and when he makes this pie, you better believe it’s the best darn pie you’ll ever taste - perfect lemony heaven. He found this recipe at Cooks Country and makes it for special occasions. It’s my favorite pie! I always tell him to make two so he can share the wealth with me!

You will need 6 tablespoons of lemon juice for this recipe. Have an extra lemon on hand in case the 3 sliced lemons do not yield enough juice.
Serves 8.


1 double-crust pie dough (Dad uses this Vodka Pie Crust Recipe )

3 large lemons, sliced THIN and seeded (see technique below)

1 ¾ cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon heavy cream


1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie plate with 1 dough round and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Squeeze lemon slices in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl; reserve juice (you should have 6 tablespoons). Bring drained slices and 2 cups water to boil in saucepan, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slices are softened, about 5 minutes. Drain well and discard liquid. Combine softened lemon slices, sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup reserved lemon juice in bowl; stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Whisk cornstarch and remaining lemon juice in large bowl. Whisk eggs into cornstarch mixture, then slowly stir in lemon slice mixture, then slowly stir in lemon slice mixture until combined. Pour into chilled pie shell. Brush edges of dough with 1 teaspoon cream and top with remaining dough round. Seal, crimp edges, and brush top of dough with remaining cream. Using paring knife, cut 4 vents in top of dough.
4. Bake until light golden, about 20 minutes, then decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour. Serve. (Pie can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 2 days.)

The Slice is Right
We found that using a knife to evenly cut the lemons into paper-thin slices was a difficult and time-consuming task. We had better results with a mandoline (or V-slicer), which produced perfectly thin slices in no time at all. If you don’t have a mandoline, we did find another piece of kitchen equipment that will make the process easier—the freezer. Popping the lemons into the freezer for about 30 minutes firms them up for better hand-slicing, which is best accomplished with a serrated knife.

Building Bold, Not Bitter, Lemon Flavor
Using sliced whole lemons, pith and all, can produce an overwhelmingly bitter filling. We found a few tricks to create bright lemon flavor while tempering the bitterness of the pith.
1. Squeeze the seeded lemon slices and reserve the juice for the filling.
2. Simmer the slices to mellow the bitterness of the pith and then add them to the filling with the uncooked juice.

Picture by abitofbeesknees and knoxnews


In honor of the last Harry Potter movie...I bring you a recipe for Butterbeer by the Huffington Post. This looks incredibly delicious!
Butterbeer is created by mixing a buttery caramel sauce with cream soda and dash of rum, topped-off  with a healthy dollop of whipped cream. Mmmmm sounds like my kind of drink!

Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active)
Servings: 4
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon rum (or rum extract for the kiddies)
Four 12ounce bottles cream soda


In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer.
Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum.
In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.

Picture by pastryaffair

Beautiful Art with a Powerful Message

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brazilian Lemonade

This is one of my favorite drinks! It is so yummy...the perfect combination of tangy citrus and sweet creamy condensed milk! My friends and family go nuts for it!

Tip: I like to rim my serving glasses with lime and dip them in sugar. Put your sugar rimmed glasses in the freezer while you make the drink or until you are ready to serve them. I also suggest making more than one batch...people love this drink and are bound to want more! If you are making this drink ahead of time, be sure to stir it before serving.


- 2 limes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups ice

Wash limes thoroughly. Cut off the ends and slice into eight wedges. Place the limes in a blender with the sugar and sweetened condensed milk, water and ice. Blend in an electric blender, pulsing 5 times until the inside of the lime pulps are mashed. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the rinds. Serve over ice.

Serves: 3


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lime and Lemon Posset: A Simple and WONDERFUL Dessert!

 This is one of my favorite desserts to make. You can't beat a creamy, lime and lemon posset! It's so simple and fancy and only takes a few minutes to make...the only thing you'll need to wait for is the chilling process. I usually just eat these dreamy cups of posset as is, but other people prefer to spread it on Friand tea cakes. I found this recipe in a Bon Appétit back in 2007. What an awesome find! So grateful to have it stored in my recipe box!

yield: Makes 6 servings


  • 2 1/4 cups whipping cream

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel

  • Bring cream and 3/4 cup sugar to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly, adjusting heat as needed to prevent mixture from boiling over. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and lime juice and cool 10 minutes. Stir mixture again and divide among six 1/2-cup ramekins or custard cups. Cover and chill possets until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

    Mix remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, lemon peel, and lime peel in small bowl. Sprinkle atop possets.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Our Fishing Trip

    Danny and I went fishing with my Grandparents at 6:30AM yesterday. We launched the boat in Dana Point and headed north towards Laguna and Newport.  We snacked on edamame, fresh strawberries and oatmeal cookies while Grandpa gave us lessons on tying polymer and cinch  knots for our hooks. I loved taking pictures of the beautiful coastline and spending time with my family. P.S. Grandma, Danny and I caught about eight mackerel and released them (yucky eats). Grandpa…the fish whisperer of fishermen, caught two beautiful Sea Bass. Good job Grandpops!

    Grandpa and Danny getting the boat ready


     Giant sea cliff mansion in Dana Point

    Hoping for a big one!

    No luck!

    Laguna Beach

    This is one of my favorite beaches called Thousand Step in Laguna Beach. This early morning picture doesn't do it justice -- it's a beautiful secluded cove with clear water and a soft white sand. The trek to get here is a little tiring (hence the name) but it's well worth it! I love the  beach huts and the rickety old elevator that someone made to make their daily visit less daunting.

    One of Grandpa's Sea Bass! He never fails to catch a fish!

    Thousand Step (Laguna)

     A resort in Laguna and our friendly fishing neighbors

    Sun bathing beauties (Dana Point)

     Crumbling cliff? Yikes! (Dana Point)

    One of Dana's old fishing vessels
     It was a great morning!

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Simple Summer Secrets

    #1. Ice Cube Tray as Sunburn Soother

    Freeze cubes of aloe vera for instant sunburn relief when you forget the SPF. Squeeze aloe gel into the tray and freeze over night. Keep them in the freezer for emergencies.


    #2. Broken Blender? Use a Mason Jar

    If you accidentally broke your blender pitcher, use a mason jar. Most large mason jars will screw into a standard size blender base. Make sure that the blade doesn’t touch the glass!  
    If you have ample clearance, blend away!

    #3. Citrus Peels as Bowls
    Serve sorbet in a memorable way. After juicing (or eating) grapefruit, orange, lemon, or lime halves, scoop out and freeze the peels. Cut a small slice off the bottom to create a level surface (without creating a hole), then fill with ice cream.

    #4. Egg slicers can slice more than just eggs!
    Use your egg slicer to cut your strawberries 10x faster! Now why didn’t I think of this earlier!

    #5. Bundt Pan as Corn Holder
    Cut corn from the cob without the mess. Place an ear in the center of a Bundt pan. As you slide the knife down, the corn will fall right into the pan.

    #6. Baby Oil as Tar Remover
    Bare feet left with a bit of tar after a long day on the beach? Lift it off with a dose of baby oil. P.S. it's also good for eye make-up remover. I use it all the time.

    #7. Drink Carrier as Condiment Kit
    Cart condiments to a backyard barbecue. Slot flatware, ketchup and mustard in the compartments for easy transport. I've seen these at the Catalina Fish Kitchen. Cute and thrifty.

    #7. Cupcake Liner as Drip Catcher
    Before serving that Popsicle, slip the stick through a foil liner to catch drips and keep hands from getting sticky.

     All pictures by Real Simple found at stumbleupon