Tuesday, January 31, 2012

10 Helpful Tips for the Kitchen.

1. For cleaning smelly hands after chopping onions or garlic, just rub them on a stainless steel kitchen sink or spoon. The steel is supposed to absorb the odor.

2. If you happen to over-salt a pot of soup, just drop in a peeled potato. The potato will absorb the excess salt.

3. Never put citrus fruits or tomatoes in the fridge. The low temperatures degrade the aroma and flavor of these persnickety fruits.

4. Burned a pot of rice? Just place a piece of white bread on top of the rice for 5-10 minutes to draw out the burned flavor. Be careful not to scrape the burned pieces off of the bottom of the pan when serving the rice.

5. If your salt is clumping up, put a few grains of rice in with it to absorb excess moisture.

6. An oldie, but a goodie - use cooking spray on plastic containers to prevent stains from tomato sauce, marinara, chili, or any sauce that might stain your Tupperware.

7. To easily remove burnt food off of a skillet, add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Then set it on the stove and bring to a boil to remove the burnt foods.

8. Mix 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a microwave-safe container, and zap it on high for five minutes. When it's done, remove the container and wipe down the interior of the oven. Any gunk should slide right off + it smells nice!

9. If a tiny piece of egg shell falls into the bowl along with the raw egg, wet your finger with water before attempting to fish it out. You'll be shocked at how easily it can be grabbed and eliminated.

10. Place a wooden spoon across the top of the pot to keep it from boiling over. (I tried this one last week...it totally works! I had to grab Dan to show him the cool trick! "Wow Britt, really cool." Ha-ha. I think I was more excited than he was.)

There you go -- 10 tips for the kitchen! What are some tips that you use?

Tips compiled from (lifehackery, thenest and professionalrecipes)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Idyllwild Weekend

Grandpa owns a cabin in Idyllwild, CA. He's made it into his little slice of heaven, complete with sheep skin rugs and garage workshop  where he can create 'til his heart's content. My personal  fav is the cabin's kitchen -- hanging pans, homemade bottles of garlic olive oil and a walk in pantry. Dan and I love to visit whenever we get a chance (especially when it snows and we can make fires in the fire place and drink hot cocoa!).

Breakfast at the Red Kettle.
Mmmmm Coffee.

Junkyard Omelet.
Steak, peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, bacon and cheese.

 After Idyllwild we headed to the desert to meet up with some friends for a going away party. Our friend Bryce was leaving to play Water Polo for New Zealand...he needed a proper farewell party of course.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Strawberry Blackberry Margarita

I found this WONDERFUL recipe on The Nest. You will love it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mmmmm Umbrellas

Ohhhh these are some pretty umbrellas! Perfect for a rainy day.

Jean Paul Gaultier x Guy de Jean Umbrellas  

Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier recently collaborated with fellow French label Guy de Jean to decorate several of their renowned umbrellas.


Merde Il Pleut Navy Umbrella 

Too Funny... 

Style: Wood handle, shaft, ferrule, and tips. Manual opening and closing, stopper on shaft 
 to prevent wind damage. Features one panel print that reads "Merde Il Pleut"

Bridal Expo!

A few weeks ago Shan, Mo, Mom and I went to the Bridal Expo at the OC fairgrounds. It was pretty cool; a one stop and shop for all the companies you need to plan a wedding. The expo traveled to LA the next day... I heard that they held a wedding contest where brides battled each other to find a diamond ring inside a giant wedding cake -- too funny.

Early morning coffee
I made these for my loves.

This photo booth prints your pictures in 8 seconds and even lets you e-mail copies! How cool it that?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DIY: Valentine's Day Wrapping Ideas



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vanilla Olive Oil Scrub


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DIY: Glitter Dipped Mason Jars

This is a cute idea...

1. Cover half of your mason jar with paper (tape down the edge of the paper to get a smooth line) 
2. Spray or paint the other half of the jar with clear glue
3. Dip in glitter 
4. Peel of tape and paper
5. After glue dries, brush off excess glitter 

 Picture via (thesweetestoccasion

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

German Chocolate Bombs

These showstoppers are a creative spin on a classic dessert. Here, individual ganache-glazed chocolate cake bombs are filled with decadent chocolate mousse and creamy pecan-coconut pudding. And, they're the perfect ending for a dinner party because you can make them ahead. Yields 10 individual bombs 

For the cake
Cooking spray
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 oz. (1/4 cup) natural cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups boiling water
7 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Tip: This recipe contains raw eggs; if that’s a concern, buy pasteurized.

For the coconut-pecan filling
3-1/4 oz. (about 1 cup) sweetened, shredded dried coconut, toasted and cooled
3 oz. (2/3 cup) pecans, toasted and cooled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
6 large egg yolks
1 5-oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate mousse
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably 70% cacao), chopped (about 1 cup)
3-1/2 oz. (7 Tbs.) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, separated
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt

For the glaze
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably 70% cacao), finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbs. light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream

Make the cake 
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Coat a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Put the chocolate and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl, add the boiling water, and whisk to combine and melt the chocolate. Set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Beat the sugar and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl halfway through. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly add the buttermilk and vanilla—the batter will look curdled at this point. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Alternate adding the flour mixture (in 3 additions) with the chocolate mixture (in 2 additions), ending with the flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan on the counter to level the batter.
Bake until the cake springs back when poked in the center with a finger, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. (Well-wrapped, the cake will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator, or up to 1 month in the freezer.)

Make the coconut-pecan filling 
Pulse the coconut and pecans in a food processor until they resemble coarse cornmeal.
Combine the sugar, butter, egg yolks, evaporated milk, and vanilla in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spoon or spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon and hold a trail when a finger is drawn through it, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until cooled, fluffy, and slightly lightened in color, 6 to 10 minutes. Add the coconut-pecan mixture and beat on medium speed until combined, 1 minute more. Refrigerate until ready to use. (You can refrigerate the filling for up to 1 week.)

Make the chocolate mousse
 Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir with a spatula to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whip the egg whites in a clean stand mixer fitted with a clean whisk attachment on medium-high speed to soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and continue to whip to stiff peaks, 3 to 4 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whip the cream with a whisk or electric hand mixer to medium-stiff peaks.
In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Mix the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture with a spatula. Fold in the whipped egg whites, then fold in the whipped cream—there shouldn’t be any visible streaks.

Assemble the bombes 
Set two silicone bombe molds that hold at least 5 bombes each (3-1/4-inch diameter and 1/2-cup capacity) on a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet.
Turn the cake out onto a cutting board. Use a 3-1/8-inch round cutter to cut 10 circles from the chocolate cake. 
Scoop about 1/4 cup of the mousse into each mold and smear it evenly all over the insides of the molds with the back of a small spoon. Refrigerate or freeze until set, 10 to 20 minutes. Evenly distribute the coconut-pecan filling among the molds (about 2-1/2 Tbs. each), and then gently press a cake circle into each mold. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
Unmold the frozen bombes one at a time onto a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Let sit until nearly room temperature, 2 to 3 hours.

Glaze the bombes
 Put the chopped chocolate and corn syrup in a medium stainless-steel bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat until just boiling, then pour it over the chocolate mixture and let sit for 3 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.
Pour the glaze evenly over the bombs to coat them completely. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. (Glaze the bombs no more than 8 hours in advance.)
Let the bombs sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

nutrition information 
(per serving):
Calories (kcal): 850; Fat (g): 63; Fat Calories (kcal): 560; Saturated Fat (g): 36; Protein (g): 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 20; Carbohydrates (g): 67; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Sodium (mg): 210; Cholesterol (mg): 310; Fiber (g): 6;
photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 114 , pp. 82-87

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bonlook and Lookmatic Glasses!

I am obsessed! These two companies sell prescription eyeglasses for as cheap as $88! What a steal! I usually pay up to $250 for my eyeglasses and that's with health insurance. Yikes! You can upload a picture or use your web cam and try on new looks. It's so much fun and for $88 you can feel better about updating your style from time to time. I can't wait to get a pair of my own. Here are a few glasses that I have been looking at. I can't pick... there are too many to choose from!

I really like the Hooverville Brown, Honeybadger Black, and Midnight Express Tortoise from Bonlook.


The Woody and Jesse from Lookmatic are super cute too.

I think I'll be ordering a pair sometime in the near future. I'll let you guys know when I do!
Check out these sites, they are awesome!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dan and Britt's Wedding Colors

Color Inspiration!

I've been playing around with our wedding colors for a few months now. I think everyone and their 3rd cousin once removed has asked me, "what are your colors?" Ha-ha. So I finally commited and got things done! This wedding stuff if hard work, who knew? So without further delay, here they are. Yay! Check mark.

I wanted to go with a soft, victorian look paired with the warm seasonal colors represented in early fall. Here's what I came up with...

P.S. Our wedding will most likely be in early September 2012.

Pictures: Collage by A Bit of Bees Knees. Individual pictures found Here.

DIY: Tree Branch Lamp

These lamps are gorgeous! When I get a free weekend, I'll be making one of my own! Here's how I would break this down into a simple DIY project.

You will need

1. A Birch Branch

2. A wooden disc to use as a stand for the lamp * make sure that your disc is large enough to support your lamp, depending upon how tall your birch branch is. These wooden circles can usually be found at your local craft store or Home Depot.

3. Light bulb and cord can be found at any home improvement store such as, Home Depot, Lowe's, ACE Hardware etc.

4. Lamp Shade. Pick your style!

5. Assembling Tools

Power drill and screw driver, drill and screw bits, wood glue and screws.

Have fun my friends! Let me know if you make one of your own. I would love to see pictures!