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Showing posts from June, 2013

Mustache Cake Tutorial

After sharing this tutorial earlier on Love Stitched, I couldn't wait to share it on here! 
The mustache craze is all over the place. I think it started out on the sidelines in photo booth here and there, and then it bled into the rest of the party. So it's wasn't too long until mustaches became the main theme of birthday gatherings - "Mustache Bashes," if you will. 
At first I thought it was a little strange - my husband grew a gnarly mustache once when I was away in South Korea & Japan for a month one summer, and I came back completely surprised. Needless to say, I made him shave it off before I kissed him. It was far too itchy, and made him look kind of creepy... 
I much prefer mustaches in cake from - layered with moist yellow cake and my favorite cocoa buttercream on the planet. So when my friend asked me to make this cake for her husband's 30th birthday, a.k.a the Mustache Bash, I couldn't resist. 

It was extremely simple to shape. I baked 2 ca…

Kitchen Tip of the Week: Cornstarch Confession

For me, corn starch is one of those superhero ingredients that can really save the day. Some people, though, think it's a cheat ingredient; feeling like its use is an all-too-easy way to get your gravy just right. However, I can happily say I've seen Food Network Iron Chefs toss in a handful of cornstarch in the limelight of Kitchen Stadium, so I'll stick with using it. (We'll just ignore that maybe they were adding it to save time, and thicken the sauce within the short amount of time they're given to make some serious magic...)
As most of us already know, cornstarch is used to thicken sauces, desserts, soup, and anything else you want to make a little thicker during game time in the kitchen. 
A lot of people run into a huge problem:
clumping
You know - those little balls of white that will never whisk down no matter how hard you try. It's crazy, and is a quick way to make a sauce look from pro to...  no.
Thankfully, there are two methods I use to prevent corn…

Studio 5 Segment - Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

Today I had the fun opportunity to be on TV again (Studio 5!). This time I was able to make cookies - and some of my favorite cookies of all time: Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles.


I've been on the show pretty steady ever since October of last year. It has been a complete blast, and I feel so grateful to be able to cook on TV. I love Studio 5, and fully support what they do - and they are just the kindest people you'll ever meet.

Yes, I still get extremely nervous, and the butterflies in my stomach will never get used to cooking, talking, interacting, and answering with a few cameras pointed towards the kitchen. I still can't even settle on a dang shirt to wear the morning of the show! This time I stopped by DownEast at the Gateway on my way to the studio. Talk about indecisive, man.

All I can say is THANK HEAVENS for my sister-in-law, Katie (my little brother Ryan's wife). She is a godsend, and saved me yesterday. I had to get groceries with the crazy Manc…

Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad with Snow Peas

Last week I either ate something grilled for me, or something I grilled myself.

That's what summertime is all about, right? Sitting in the backyard, smelling those sweet veggies and luscious meats simmering away in a chamber of smokey heaven, letting the little ones dig in the dirt or soak everything with the hose? Sounds like my kind of party.

We actually just barely landed our first grill - before we had been borrowing one from my parents.

This past week, though, the stars aligned:

Ryan racked up a bunch of points using Westlaw.com during law school, and was about to lose the points because his subscription was ending. So he went through the rewards section, found out he had enough points for a new grill, ordered it (free for us!) and called me saying a grill was on it's way.

I was beyond excited. Even though that grill is about 1 foot x about 8 inches, it grills like a dream, and I've just loved having it in our backyard.

This "salad" was more to me like some…

Kitchen Tip of the Week: Melon Baller to the Rescue

As many of you know, I use my melon baller for all kinds of random things in the kitchen. In fact, after owning a melon baller for almost 3 years now, this past weekend was the first time I've actually used it for it's designed purpose: watermelon balls. This week, I've decided to share one of those random ways I use this favorite tool of mine... on those pesty tomato stems! 
Tip:Use the small end of your melon baller to easily de-stem your tomatoes. It leaves a clean cut, and doesn't waste barely any of the tomato in the process.
Some people ignore them completely, but I can't stand seeing them in my salads or even on a sandwich with the nasty stem still staring me in the face. I understand why people sometimes leave the stem on - it's such a beast to get them off neatly without wasting too much of the tomato itself. And unless you have a sharp knife, there's no way you're going to leave that poor tomato unscathed without a few battle wounds while remo…

Pink, Grey & White Baby Girl Shower

I have one sister. 
Just one. 
But oh what an incredible sister she is! 
She's my big sister, and seriously one of the most gorgeous ladies you'll ever see. She stands over 6 feet tall, but still insists on wearing high heels on top of that. So whenever I go to give her a hug, I end up with a face full of belly button or chest. She's obsessed with bacon, and is soaked to the bone in the Crossfit world of exercise. 
Ashley's a strong woman, and has been through so much with multiple miscarriages and her husband being in Iraq for more than 3 years of their marriage. Nonetheless, she has pushed through, stayed strong, and on Christmas she surprised my family with a blessing of an announcement: a beautiful baby girl on the way. 
This past weekend we were able to do something we've only dreamed about: celebrating a little one coming into their family. We couldn't be more excited, and I know she's going to grow into motherhood just beautifully. 
Again, normally …

Lemon Poppy Seed Tart

First of all, you may have noticed I've been MIA since last Thursday. Friday was my big sister's baby shower, and I poured all the time I could have into preparing for it with my Mom. So, naturally, the blog came second. However, this week I just can't wait to share everything with you from that beautiful afternoon. Stay tunes, my friends.

Now, to the tart.

It was so fluffy and light.

Kind of like mousse, but still had the creamy softness of pudding.

I made this darling tart to celebrate my husband landing another clerkship for next year. My only regrets were starting this tart so late in the day, and loosing my natural afternoon light in the process. Knowing we were going to eat a few slices that evening, I knew my only chance at a photo would be right away. Unfortunately, making this tart was a little more time-consuming than I anticipated. There were so many steps along the way, and I was wondering if it was even worth it by the end: making the dough from scratch, refr…

Seven Layer Pasta Salad

Picnic and potluck season has just met it's brand new arm candy:
The seven layer salad. 
Avocados tossed with lime and salt, lovely ham steak, fresh broccoli florets, whole wheat pasta, crispy lettuce, cheddar cheese cubes, and juicy tomatoes. All beautifully adorned with the most heavenly herbed white dressing. This salad is such a win, I can't even think straight. 
At first it pulls you in by it's look alone. The colors were just enough to wet our whistle, and I felt as though it would be a crime to dig in for lunch/dinner. But I'm glad I didn't put it off to long - the taste is really what stole the show. There's just something so bright and fresh with that simple dressing. It was not only soft in taste, but had it's own special way of showing off the best side of each salad ingredient. 
I made a couple physical changes to the recipe. I thought cubed cheese would be a fun echo of the cubed ham, versus using the cheese in shredded form. Also, I used whol…

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

Our neighborhood does such a beautiful thing on Sundays in the summertime. It warms my heart, and adds another reason to miss living here in the valley when we move next month. 
On Sunday summer evenings in our church/ neighborhood community, we take turns hosting a Lemonade Social. When we first moved into the area, this was the first real conversations we had with our neighbors and how we really got to know everyone. There was plenty of delicious lemonade and families loaded up their red wagons full of eager children to come and enjoy the evening together. I fell in love with the idea, and wanted to make sure I was a part of it. 
Yesterday, I couldn't wait for our turn to fill our front lawn with good friends and wonderful neighbors for the Lemonade Social. Ryan and I spent a good portion of Saturday evening, Sunday morning and late afternoon making ridiculous amounts of Melonberry lemonade (3 large watermelons, and 6 lbs of strawberries), an easy batch of Countrytime Lemonade,…

Mustache Bash Cake Tutorial

Happy Thursday everyone! Today I'm guest-posting over atLove Stitchedwith this darling Mustache Bash cake. It was pretty simple to put together, and I'm 100% confident you'll want to throw your own Mustache party just to have this cake at the center. I don't usually do tutorials, but I thought this would be a tasty exception.

Click HERE to see the post.

*I promise the link is working now :)

Parsley Pesto Campanelle

When my Bon Appetit magazine came in the mail this month, I instantly fell in love with the idea of a parsley pesto. After trying my own hand at basil pesto, and even spinach arugula pesto, I knew this had to find it's way into my kitchen. 
So last week, when Ryan was working/studying for the Bar Exam late (oh wait, that's every night), I pulled out the recipe and went to work. Except, instead of using spaghetti, I decided to make the dish my own and use up the rest of the campanelle we had lying around. I'm so glad I did - the beautiful noodle bells trapped some of the fresh pesto inside the twirls. 

No. Cherries have nothing to do with this dish. 
Except for color, of course. I mean, can you blame me? Look at that deep, dark, red. It was gorgeous.  And tasted that way, too. 
The pesto tasted SO fresh. It was a completely different flavor explosion than I'm used to. I guess I've just programmed my taste buds to go into basil mode whenever I hear the word pesto. B…

LASIK Surgery Giveaway

Today is the opportunity of a lifetime, my friends. I've teamed up with a group of incredible bloggers, Favorite Family Recipes, Sweet Treats and More, The Recipe Critic, Baking with Blondie, Something Swanky, Taste and Tell,Your Cup of Cake, Brassy Apple, 365 Days of Slowcooking and Life of a Passeri to give away....LASIK eye surgery worth $4,800 to one lucky winner!  Yes, you read that right. One lucky winner will receive LASIK eye surgery worth $4,800 - and say goodbye to their glasses + contacts for a lifetime. Just scroll to the bottom of the post to enter!

But, wait that's not all, we also wanted to giveaway something special to each who enters the giveaway. So we also decided, that even if you don't win, you should still get a serious discount towards your LASIK eye surgery. So, even if you don't win, you'll be sent an exclusive discount from Davis Vision, making it much more affordable.

I've always been curious about Lasik, but just the thought of watch…