Sunday, March 22, 2015

Springtime in Paris Bridal Shower Watercolor Invitations

My Mom and I are throwing my best friend Shannon a Bridal Shower in a few weeks. Shanny and her man Justin are planning on honeymooning in Paris so my Mom and I thought it would be cute to throw Shan a Springtime in Paris Bridal Shower Brunch. We thought it would be fun to paint the invitation with French-esque scenes to make things extra special. As I was searching for some Frenchy inspiration I stumbled upon the Michael's Springtime in Paris Contest. What a coincidence! So I entered the paintings into the #Springtimeinparis #Contest. Cross your fingers! I hope it wins! 5 glorious days in Paris -- cooking, sketching, florist lessons, and a private tour of the Louvre. Awwww swoooooon.  Oui se il vous plait.

Here is a fun little blurb that I sent to Michaels:
I’m in love with France and everything Parisian – the culture, food and art etc. It would be a dream of mine to take my Mother to Paris with me. She has always wanted to travel but has never had the opportunity to do so. I would love to be by her side as she experiences her first overseas adventure (and to Paris of all places); to one of the worlds most exciting and beautiful cities -- the crème de la crème for 1st time travel. We are both very creative people and this trip would be absolutely dreamy. I could picture us having the best time exploring the Louvre, admiring art, cooking French cuisine and arraigning gorgeous bouquets. These artistic classes are right up our alley. I would love to take a stroll through Montmartre, buy some crusty bread and cheese from a local fromagerie and some bubbly champagne. We could sit in the park by the Eiffel tower, enjoy our goodies and watch its lights twinkle.  I know that Paris would bring out the best of our creativity and friendship and give us memories that could last a lifetime.

*Any visible addresses are fictitious.

Ok, so it's a few weeks later and I didn't win. Bummers...but congrats to all the winners. You guys did a fabulous job! Here is the link if you want to check out their amazing work. 

I Started A Tumblr!

So I started a Tumblr! Yes...the 16 year-old-girl in me is super excited. Bahahaha, no really. I find it relaxing and motivating to scroll through pictures and words of wisdom that inspire me about life, family, travel, art, cozy homes and yummy food. I guess it's sort of a vision board, right? I hope this will be a place that you can come to unwind and think about happy things. My fuzzy blanket is now yours. I hope you like it.

*Links to the original sources and recipes can be found when you click on the pictures. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cooking Class With Mom {+ Fancy French Recipes}

I took a fun cooking class with my Mom, Susan and Andria last week. It was lead by some awesome culinary high school students at the Orange County School of the Arts {OCSA}. It was a fun night out!

Here are all the yummy recipes that we made (slightly moi.)

Wild Mushroom Duxelles

Yields 8 oz.

1/4 cup shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 oz. butter
1 lb. mushrooms chopped {we used a combination of shiitake and white}
1/2 cup. white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper

- In a lg. saute' pan sweat shallots and garlic in butter 2-3 minutes until translucent
- Add mushrooms and saute' until soft, wilted and dry.
- Deglaze with white wine and reduce until au sec {almost dry}
- Add cream and reduce by half. Add parsley, salt and pepper.
- Use Duxelles to fill puff pastry vol-au-vents.

Crab Cakes & Remoulade Sauce

yields 8 - 2 oz. cakes

1 shallot minced
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup oz. mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 fl. oz. pommery mustard
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. chives, sliced thin
hot sauce (to taste)
1 tsp. old bay seasoning, optional
1 1/2 cups crab meat, picked
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper (to taste)

1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
more panko, for dredging

-Heat a saute pan and sweat the shallots in the oil until translucent. Cool.
-Combine the shallots with the next 8 ingredients
-Fold the mayonnaise mixture into the crab meat without shredding the meat. Fold in the bread crumbs and salt & pepper
-Divide the mixture into 2 oz. servings and form into small cakes, 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inches thick. Dredge in extra panko crumbs.
-Fry the crab cakes in the hot vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides
-Drain on a paper towel
-Serve immediately with Remoulade Sauce

Remoulade Sauce

Yields 8 oz.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. chive, sliced thin
1 tbsp. tarragon, chopped
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 anchovy filet, minced
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. creamy white horseradish
salt & pepper (to taste)
worcestershire sauce (to taste)
hot sauce (to taste)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready.

Crème Brûlée

Yeilds 4-5 servings

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar (separated 1/4)
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean (scrapped)
4 egg yolks, beaten 

granulated sugar for topping
strawberries for topping

-Split the vanilla bean in half, scrapping the fine seeds from the pod.  Add both the pod and the seeds to the heavy cream, 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, stirring to prevent the milk from burning. Remove from heat.
-Beat egg yolks in a small bowl and add the rest of the sugar (1/4 cup) to the yolks.
-Slowly add the yolks to the cream mixture while stirring. *If you add the yolks too fast, it may cook and clump in the hot cream mixture. Be sure to slowly temper the yolks into the hot cream. Stir, stir, stir!
-Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
-Ladle the strained custard into ramekins, filling them 3/4 full.
-Bake in a water bath at 325F until just set, about 35 minutes or until the mixture is set in the center. the crème brûlée should wiggle slightly when shaken. Let cool to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
-To finish the creme brulee evenly coat each custard's surface with a thin layer of sugar. Use a propane torch to melt and caramelize the sugar. Serve at room temperature
-Top with strawberries if desired

Molten Chocolate Cake

Yields 1 dz.

4 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
14 oz. bitter sweet chocolate
14 oz. butter
6 oz. all purpose flour, sifted

-Whip eggs, yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside
-In a bain marie (double boiler) melt the chocolate and butter together, constantly mixing to incorporate the butter into the chocolate.
-Temper the egg mixture into the melted chocolate. Pour the egg mixture slowly (while stirring) into the hot chocolate to avoid cooking the eggs.
-Add sifted flour
-Grease small ramekins or muffin tin and fill the cups 3/4 of the way full
-Bake at 350F for about 8-10 min. The middle should be slightly under cooked.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

30 Fresh Healthy Juices + Benefits

I have become a little obsessed with juicing over the passed year. Fresh juice has done wonders on my skin and health (reduced the puffiness under my eyes and improved my skin tone and complexion etc.). It's a great way to incorporate extra vitamins into your diet. My 90 year old Uncle Phillip wrote a book called Codes for Longevity. He talks about the importance of eating leafy greens and other fruits and veggies to alkalize our bodies, stay strong, prevent disease and premature aging. I try my best to lead a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it's hard to eat tons of veggies + boring for my taste buds. So, my solution is juicing. Spinach, kale, parsley, mint, dandelion ( FYI dandelion is a rough one. good luck), rapini, carrots, apples, beets, pears, grapefruit, lemons, ginger, peaches, limes etc. you name it. Anything that is juice-able and healthy I will juice it. Here are a list of my top 30 juice combos that I love and drink as often as possible. 

For optimal health benefits, drink the juice as soon as you juice it. I usually make 6 bottles every 3 days and drink 2 per-day on top of a semi-healthy diet (I will never be able to give up my occasional sweets ;). Store your juice in the fridge. I suggest using glass bottles with a cap. Drink your juice within 3 days or it may turn a tad funky on you...

Happy juicing my friends!

*I use a Krups Juicer. I also use a Ninja Blender for incorporating frozen fruits and goodies like avocados, passion fruit, maca and wheatgrass.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. juice spinach, lime, kiwi and green apple. blend in 1 frozen banana and 1 tbsp. wheatgrass powder.

2. carrot, cucumber, ginger

3. beet, pineapple, mango, kale

4. mango, pineapple, peach and coconut milk

5. pineapple, blood orange, lemon, lime, and grapes 

6. kale, spinach, lemon and apple

7. mango, peach, cumquats and kale

8. kale, apple, ginger, romaine, spinach, parsley and lemon

9. orange, lemon, ginger, plum, peach and turmeric powder

10. juice apple and pineapple. stir in 1 tsp. chia seeds and 1 tsp. maca powder.

11.  juice kale, spinach and orange. blend in  1/2 avocado, frozen mango and banana, 1 tsp. chia seeds and 1 cup almond milk

12. papaya, pineapple, apple cider vinegar and ginger <-- not the best tasting but great for colds.

13. cucumber, celery, tomato, lemon, ginger and apple

14. spinach, romaine, chard, orange, pineapple and cilantro

15. pumpkin, apple, nutmeg, cinnamon and 1 tsp.vanilla bean paste

16. strawberry, apple, pomegranate seeds and lime

17. cucumber, pineapple, lemon, aloe vera (remove the spines before juicing)

18. carrot, apple, spinach and ginger

19. grapefruit and mint (mince mint and add to the grapefruit juice)

20. carrot, dandelion, kale, apple, grapes, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber and celery (this one is a tad rough but worth the vitamins!)

21. coconut water and rose water <-- don't need to juice this one but I had to add it to the list. fabulous.

22. guava (guava seeds are a bit rough on some juicers...make sure your machine can handle it) romaine, lettuce, green apple and pear

23. tangerine, mango, apple, passion fruit (stir in after juicing. it's OK to drink the black passion fruit seeds.)

24. pineapple, ginger, pear and mint (mince mint and add to juice)

25. kiwi, kale, apple, honeydew, 1 tbsp. wheatgrass powder

26. pineapple, apples, oranges, dandelion and ginger

27. watermelon, passion fruit, guava, pineapple and spinach

28. apple, spinach, grapeA + blend with frozen banana and berries

29. peach, mango, blood orange and carrot

30. watermelon, lemon and mint (mince mint and add to juice)

-I stumbled across this awesome website that lists all the wonderful benefits of fruits and veggies!-

aloe vera - delays the aging process, cures dermatitis, alleviates menstrual problems, reduces arthritis pain, heals wounds, cures nausea, eliminates ulcers, lowers blood sugar levels, prevents diabetes, reduces oxidative stress, inhibits cancerous growth, promotes hair growth, and soothes acid reflux symptoms.
apples - quercetin, an antioxidant abundant in apples, helps reduce LDL/bad cholesterol oxidation. apples are rich in a fiber called pectin and may help reduce levels of toxic heavy metals in the body.
apple cider vinegar - helps with weight loss, detoxification, relief from arthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes, indigestion, depression, asthma and cancer. improves skin clarity and balancing the pH in your body.
avocados - high in potassium and contain monounsaturated fats which help to lower blood pressure. good source of vitamin K, which has been indicated to promote bone health.
bananas - a good source of B vitamins, which may help to remedy sleeplessness, mood swings, and irritability. They also contain vitamin C, as well as magnesium and potassium, which make them a great electrolyte replenisher, particularly after exercising 
beets - numerous studies have shown that beets can help oxygenate blood. they are a good source of folic acid and also contain vitamins A, C, choline, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, and fiber.
blackberries -an excellent source of vitamin C, blackberries have substantial amounts of fiber, iron, calcium, manganese, and potassium. berries are the highest source of antioxidants from fruits.
carrots - excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C. rich in beta-carotene and carotenoids; they help protect the body from cancer, cardiac disease, cataract and macular degeneration. They also contain iron, calcium, potassium, and natural sodium. 
celery - a great low calorie food, high levels of silicon in celery strengthen joints, bones, arteries, and connective tissues. high in minerals.
chard - high in vitamin K, which assists with blood clotting, and protects bones from fracturing. anti-inflammatory.
cilantro - has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin-C), minerals and vitamins. helps reduce skin inflammations, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. high in iron and can benefit people who suffer with anemia. rich in calcium, vitamin A and C
coconut water/milk - promotes healthy digestion, protein, dietary fiber and natural sugars. mineral content includes calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. vitamins B-6, C and E.
cucumbers contain potassium and phytosterols which can help lower cholesterol. 
dandelion - high in vitamin K, which is important for blood and bone health. it's a diuretic, and is very beneficial for the kidneys. supports the liver and gallbladder as well.
ginger - anti-inflamatory, nausea relief, protects against certain cancers, immune boosting properties
grapefruit - high in vitamin C and limonene, which may help protect against breast cancer. grapefruits have soluble fiber which can help to lower cholesterol.
grapes - vitamins A, B, C and folate, and contain many important minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. The flavonoids found in grapes have antioxidant properties that can lessen the damage caused by free radicals, making them a great anti-aging fruit.
guava - promotes healthy eyesight, skin, brain health, thyroid health, cancer prevention and digestion. good source of vitamin C, copper,  B-3 and B-6.
kale - the highest vegetable source of vitamin K and may help the risk of developing certain cancers. it’s a fantastic source of calcium, chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. kale is low calorie and yet incredibly dense with nutrients. it’s also a good source of minerals, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus, as well as compounds which promote eye and skin health.
kiwi - excellent source of vitamin C. vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.
lemon - vitamin C and also contain smaller amounts of different vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate and vitamin E. Soothes sore throats, treats and prevents kidney stones. improves liver function, immune system, weight loss, gum disorders, blood pressure, balancing pH, detoxification and skin care.
lime - contain vitamin C, vitamin B-6, folic acid, potassium, flavonoids and many other phytonutrients.
maca - rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. Boosts libido and may alleviate anxiety, stress, depression or mood swings. maca supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases. maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. when used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass.
mango - excellent source of vitamin A and C, which is very beneficial to maintaining a strong immune system. has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers and is a good source of potassium, which is important in assisting to control heart rate and blood pressure. mango contains a great deal of flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.
melons - antioxidant and anti-cancer. reduces the risk of cancer and stroke, due to a naturally occurring chemical called adenosine.
mint - aids in digestion, nausea, headaches and coughs. Helps boost mood and fatigue, soothes skin and respiratory system.
oranges - excellent source of vitamin C. vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.
papaya - antioxidant, anti-cancer. promote healthy digestion and can reduce constipation with their potent enzymes. high in vitamins A, C, and potassium.
passion fruit - antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein. improves immune system, cancer prevention, eye health, digestion, blood pressure, insomnia and respiratory system.
peaches - excellent source of vitamin A and potassium. peaches also contain boron and niacin. antioxidant and anti-cancer.
pears - great source of fiber. contains vitamin C, boron, and potassium.
pineapples - great for improving digestion. a good source of potassium and has vitamin C and iron. contains anti-inflammatory compounds such as bromelain.
plums2nd highest source of antioxidants from fruits. good source of vitamin A and contain some calcium and vitamin C. antibacterial.
pomegranates - rich in tannins and flavonoids. pomegranates hold promise in helping reduce the risk of prostate cancer due to their lycopene and other phytonutrient content. They are the 3rd highest fruit source of antioxidants.
pumpkin - strengthens metabolism, promotes healing, boosts mood, protects bones, prevent cancers, eliminates kidney stones. helps with inflammation, immune system, defense against parasites and detoxify the body. impressive levels of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, zinc, iron, and protein, as well as smaller amounts of B complex vitamins, and   vitamin A. anti-cancer properties and components, including phenolic compounds that have directly been attributed to scavenging free radicals
romaine lettuce - contains calcium, omega-3's, vitamin C, iron, and B-vitamins. romaine is also rich in minerals.
spinachexcellent source of vitamins A, C, and E. good source of calcium, iron, potassium, protein, and choline. choline supports healthy mental function.
strawberries - excellent source of vitamin C, which helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-cancer.
tangerines - contains similar properties as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. lots of vitamin C 
tomatoes - excellent source of vitamin C, as well as antioxidants that may prevent cancer, such as lycopene. lycopene promotes overall mental and physical health. good source of potassium. antioxidant and anti-cancer.
watermelon - antibacterial and anti-cancer. Contains vitamin A and C, as well as iron and potassium. 
wheatgrass - rich in chlorophyll, which is excellent at fighting infections. high in vitamins C and E, and beta carotene. antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antibiotic.