Monday, September 24, 2012

Once In A Blue Moon (Cupcakes)

IT FELT LIKE I hadn't made cupcakes in ages until my friend Rachel and I planned to make Blue Moon flavored cupcakes. The combination of wheat, honey and citrus-y notes that Blue Moon offers are so refreshing and make it one of the few beers I never really get sick of. I was very intrigued by the idea of a cupcake with this flavor and consequently pretty thrilled to make them.


To accomodate Nick's veganism, we opted for a cream cheese-less frosting, but if you don't have these dietary restrictions, I say use regular cream cheese!


CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups Earth Balance butter (room temp)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest (reserve a little bit extra for garnish)
  • 1 cup Blue Moon
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • orange wedges (garnish)


FROSTING INGREDIENTS
  • 12 oz Tofutti vegan cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp Earth Balance butter
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl: flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and Blue Moon in another bowl. Beat together softened butter and sugar until fluffy. 
  2. Add eggs one at a time to butter/sugar mixture and then vanilla and orange zest. Then add milk/Blue moon mixture alternating with dry ingredients to the creamed butter/sugar.
  3. Fill cupcake liners 2/3rd full and bake at 375 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  4. For the frosting, first cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add orange juice, zest, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  5. Apply frosting to cupcakes with a knife once cupcakes have cooled. Garnish with orange wedge and orange zest.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shop Previews

Iam excited to share some photos from our first shoot. Barbara and I wanted to buy a lot of pieces off of each other, but ultimately showed some self-restraint and agreed that we should probably debut them in the shop instead. I didn't realize until things were set up how well a lot of the items we've sourced can be effortlessly classic wedding decor or fresh additions to most any space.















Stay tuned for the grand opening!

Friday, September 7, 2012

New at Target: Curiosity Shoppe Collection

Let's face it, I'm practically an unpaid Target spokesperson. Every time there is a launch, it's hard for me to keep quiet about it or stay away. Not that I need a cutting board shaped like the US, but the The Curiosity Shoppe has partnered with Target to create some quirky pieces for the home. I love the eclectic, vintage modern feel of their products.

Check out some of my favorite pieces from the new line: 
America Cutting Board, $25.00.


Shadow Puppet Kit, $5.00 (Set of 7). Novelty Mask Set, $5.00 (10 Piece Set).
Serving Platter, $25.00. Ceramic Bowl, $20.00.


Salad Bowl & Servers, Prices N/A.



Journal, $10.00. Notecards, $5.00. (18 Piece Set) Stamper Kit, $10.00.



Browse all the looks here and let me know if there's anything you have your eye on.  Will you be heading to the debut at Target Sunday, 9/9?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coming Soon

If you're reading this, thank you for taking the time to do so. I hope you'll forgive the virtual tumbleweeds around here, but I promise this upcoming news was worth the wait. I've been working on some exciting stuff and I can't wait to share this very consuming but exciting venture with you.

My partner Barbara and I have been curating an awesome collection (at least in my opinion) of vintage goods which will launch in several phases: to start we will open with a collection of housewares and gradually progress to jewelry and accessories. In the third phase we will release a line of handmade goodies. 

You can look forward to its debut in the coming month, and a few food posts in between. Until then, I'll leave you guys with this behind the scenes picture of a few treasures we've stockpiled. The hardest part so far has been trying not to keep it all. ;-)


Time to get shooting!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Matcha Green Tea Cookies

B
ATTLING THE DESIRE to gorge on sweets has become a bit problematic for me lately. Every meal has felt incomplete unless it ended with dessert. For instance, I made some green tea cookies, and as soon as they had cooled, I ate 6 of them, one after the other. The takeaway from this is that I am not to be left unattended with cookies.

Since I am embracing this physical dependence on sugar, or at least attempting to make a gradual departure from it, I made semi-healthy green tea cookies. Green tea has antioxidants, you can look it up. ;-) The first step to all of this is making little matcha chip morsels, which is so easy a task you will be dreaming of all sorts of infusions.


MATCHA CHIP INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli)
  • 2 tbsn. matcha powder

DIRECTIONS
  1. Melt your white chocolate using the double boiler method (i.e. place a bowl over a pot of hot water, making sure to form an airtight seal). Once the white chocolate shows the first signs of melting, reduce the heat and stir until smooth.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons green tea powder. You can purchase food grade matcha powder online. Otherwise it becomes very expensive.
  3. Transfer everything into a bag and pipe chips onto a piece of aluminum foil. Put them in the freezer for about 35 minutes or until hardened.


Matcha Chips



Piles of cookies, waiting to be devoured.


COOKIE INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup green tea (brewed 1 tablespoon green tea to 1/4 cup water)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups matcha chips

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt). Beat butter and sugar until well combined, then egg, vanilla, and green tea until light and creamy.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir matcha chips into dough.
  4. Place cookie dough on sheet (with cookie dough balls having 1" diameter) about 1" apart. For pillowy cookies, leave as is. For slightly flatter cookies, press down with your palm.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.




What other teas would you like to try this with?

Enjoy!
Margaret


Friday, May 11, 2012

Needle and Thread Mother's Day Cupcakes

Just dropping in to share some Mother's Day cupcakes I whipped up:


Sew cute, right?

I chopped up peel-able Twizzlers to imitate stitches of thread and used a toothpick to look like a needle. Don't remember where I saw the idea, but it's an easy one to execute and a definite mom-pleaser. :) Enjoy your Mother's Day!

MARGARET

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Alice in Balletland

Today I'm straying from my usual food-related post to bring you an awesome photoshoot I stumbled upon. For the most part I am pretty neutral about ballet, even though I can surely appreciate it as an art form and the fact that you need to have amazing self discipine to do it. I definitely prefer musicals over dance-focused productions, but the graphical and sartorial styling for this Alice in Wonderland show at The Washington Ballet really caught my eye. So tempted to see it for the costumes alone!

And if you're looking for some inspiration on how to throw an Alice in Wonderland-themed party, get some ideas from the one I worked on here. Also be sure to check back again soon for a cookie post that you'll need in your recipe repertoire!









Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Snippets

T
HIS PAST WEEKEND was marked by scorching hot weather, something I usually can't complain about. But since I didn't feel well, I stayed indoors most of the time. Though it was relatively uneventful, I enjoyed cooling off with iced drinks and snapping some photos. Here are a few things that made it more enjoyable:



{Sunlit kitchen}



{Swirl Ice Cream Poster}



{Wild roses}



{Bright blue geometric sandals}


1. Mornings in our kitchen: I love our kitchen because it has a south-facing window and is cozily snug. I found these antique ice cream chairs and table circa the 1950's along with red chair pads, and it fits perfectly in our kitchen. 2. Fun Wall Art: There are few things that help beat the Summer heat as much as ice cream does, and now I've got an ice cream poster! Debbie Carlos is the photographer, whom I discovered via etsy.com. Find her ice cream print here: http://store.debbiecarlos.com/bw-posters for $40. 3. Flowers: Nick and I bought some pink and yellow dahlias for our porch, which Nick aptly named "Strawberry Lemonade" flowers. I also found a wild rose bush growing on the back of our property. 4. New Sandals: I scooped up a pair of snazzy blue sandals from Target.com and so far they're a dream for my feet and my pocketbook at $19!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Petite Raspberry Tarts

H
OW DID MY MOM get me to eat healthy food when I was younger? She quickly learned that it would be a losing battle to use force. There was no point in forbidding me to leave the dinner table until I ate my veggies because I would let them sit in my mouth for hours, leaving her feeling pretty defeated. But being the resilient person my mom is, she found new ways.

I am very conscious of what I eat now that I am older, and I accredit that largely to my mom. She made me realize that there's a pretty direct (seemingly obvious) correlation between what you eat and how you feel. With fruit, she got me hooked with some of the most irresistible berries nature has to offer—raspberries. Not only did I enjoy their sweet and sometimes subtle tartness, I enjoyed eating them the way Amelie did. My boyfriend and I love putting them on our cereal, eating them by the handful, and lately, on top of tarts and in pies.


Raspberry Tart Heaven

I took a stab at making a vegan raspberry tart for my boyfriend's birthday. I had a bit of difficulty with the pie crust, but the trick I learned is not to overdo it on the kneading. You want to work the dough as little as possible while still forming its shape. Sounds paradoxical but it'll make sense once you get to trying it for yourself.


TART CRUST INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Earth Balance Butter (Vegan)
  • Several tablespoons ice water

TART FILLING INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 Package Soft Silken Tofu
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Milk


INSTRUCTIONS
1. For crust: mix flour and salt. Cut in vegan butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. One tablespoon at a time, add ice water and mix until the dough holds together. (Don't overdo this step!) Form into a ball, cover in saran wrap, and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Remove dough from fridge and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Fill tart pan with crust and score bottom of the dough to prevent air bubbles from forming.

3. For filling: combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth. After baking tarts at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, spoon filling into shells and top with raspberries. Return to fridge to set.

If you're feeling more ambitious than I was, you can also make a chocolate ganache to top over the chilled filling, or sprinkle chocolate shavings on top. Can't go wrong with either!

Thanks for reading,
Margaret

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Honey, I Love You



I
NSPIRED BY a card my coworker picked up for her boyfriend, I took this rainy weekend as an opportunity to create a handmade rendition for my honey. I didn't give it to him for any special occasion but it's a cute anniversary, Valentine's Day, or just because card! I put ours up on the fridge next to our goofy photobooth pictures.

What you'll need for this project: gold glitter, Elmer's glue, a paintbrush, a blank card, a metallic gold pen, a toothpick, and a steady hand! First, lightly sketch the shape of the honey bear in the center of your card with a pencil. Using a paintbrush, carefully cover the bear with Elmer's glue, making sure not to spread any outside of the lines.


Spread glitter over the glue and dust away excess glitter to reveal a gold bear. With a toothpick, carefully remove spots for bear's eyes and nose. Use a black pen to create the bear's eyes and nose. With a metallic gold pen, write your message underneath the bear. Then present to your honey! :)

xo,
Margaret

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kiss Me, I Eat Kale!

EVEN THE BEST junk food can not rival a fresh selection of vegetables as far as I'm concerned. As a vegetarian, they're the largest part of my diet, but even when I ate meat, I remember feeling like the meal was lacking without them. Naturally, my love for vegetables and animals made a plant-based diet an easy decision. My latest endeavor has been learning about and finding different ways to prepare veggies not currently in my repertoire.

I was never too fond of kale because of the sulforaphane in it that makes it smell the noxious way it does, (and all cabbages, the family to which kale belongs) but once I read about its health benefits and tried a couple of good recipes, I had a change of heart. Sulforaphane, I learned, actually triggers the liver to produce enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens. There are lots of studies that confirm this and discuss its implications for cancer prevention too.

I pulled out the food processor I received for Christmas and whipped up a healthy St. Patrick's Day treat for vegans and non-vegans alike:

Leprechaun-approved!


INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. miso paste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


DIRECTIONS
  1. Blanch kale in 1/4 cup of water for approximately five minutes or until leaves are tender. Reserve water for later.
  2. Toat pine nuts on low heat until slightly brown.
  3. Combine kale, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and miso paste in food processor.
  4. Slowly add olive oil and water used for kale, and pulse mixture until you reach desired consistency.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with pita chips, on crostini, in pesto tortellini or pastas... you can work it into just about any meal! 


Bon App├ętit,
Margaret

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Technicolor Inspiration


 
Succulents: I love plants and nurturing them. Unfortunately, if plants could talk, the ones I've "nurtured" would tell a different story. I have killed every single pot of orchids anyone has ever bought me (total count: 5). Cactuses, on the other hand, are notoriously low maintenance and so far I haven't killed a single one! They're not only easy to take care of; they're such a unique and varied plant.

Lighting: We (mostly I) have been hunting for a lamp to light up our living room, and I like almost every single version of Robert Abbey's Delta lamp, from the jewel tones to the pastels. Out of my price range for now, it goes for $150.91. Check out all the colors here: lampsplus.com.

Midcentury Modern: It's no secret that I am crushing hard on mid-century modern design. Friends have come to my apartment and told me that they feel like they stepped into the 50's, and in case you're wondering, I think that's very much a compliment. I've been keeping my eye out for aqua shell chairs on craigslist.org. Wouldn't it look great paired with an industrial steel work desk?

Spring Shoes: I got shoes on the brain! Madewell.com has the cutest selection of staples, and while I don't think these are a necessity, it's hard not to be drawn to shiny things. Blame the raccoon in me. Madewell's Metallic High Road Sandal also comes in other less visually-demanding colors: madewell.com.

Pillows: There are those who sleep with 8 pillows on their bed, and then there are those who lounge on the sofa buried beneath an 8-pillow avalanche. I am most definitely not the former and most certainly the latter. In the coming months I plan on updating our couch by mixing and matching some pillows from crateandbarrel.com and dwellstudio.com.

Rugs: We ordered this "Magic Carpet Rug" for our living room because we need something to brighten up the space, and my hope is that this will easily draw from every other color we have in our living room. It's very affordable at $64, so grab it while you can from urbanoutfitters.com.

Sunnies: Ray Ban Clubmasters, Wayfarers, D&G, House of Harlow. Those are just a few styles and brands of sunglasses I frequently ogle but am too stingy to shell out for. I think these SUPER Lucia cat eye sunnies could be universally flattering and I can't resist transparent pink frames. At $163 (available from piperlime.com), I will be making sure they're a perfect match before I commit.


I have some cool posts in the works for you, so stay tuned!

xoxo,
Margaret

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That's the Spirit!

WELL YOU CAN call off the search now, I'm still alive. The New Year is already upon us but the overflow of alcohol has not stopped. I've been swamped with work and more work, but I just wanted to pop in and quickly share an drink that has been helping take the edge off my long days.




Rum & Vanilla Froth Toddy

  • 1 cup sweetened almond milk
  • 1 oz dark rum (I used Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • dash nutmeg & allspice

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, heat, whisk until frothy and transfer to mug.


Nutmeg from a kit I received for Christmas.

I've been using an insulated mug I recently picked up from my local home goods shop, and I can't rave enough about how great these are. First, it is heat resistant so that you can have a steamy drink and not burn your hands on the glass. Secondly, the design is 2-layer to prevent condensation. The artistic side of me also appreciates the optical illusion effect and the fact that these pieces are mouth blown. 

Be warned though: these Bodum mugs aren't cheap, and they're very fragile. They're almost as delicate as crystal, and even though the label says you can put these in the dishwasher, I wouldn't risk it. Especially at 15 bucks a pop. Purchase your own set of two from Amazon.com here.

Happy Drinking,
Margaret