Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Today our mom turns a year older! This is one of our favorite pictures of her back from her high school days in Philadelphia.  Isn't she a beauty?? We can't wait to celebrate with her next weekend when all of us are in town!

Miami's Food Truck Frenzy.

New York and L.A. are two cities well known for their food trucks that serve up tasty, unique, and fresh treats right from the street.  Recently, the food truck frenzy has been taking over Miami and the locals have been eating it up, literally! I've had the pleasure of indulging in the trucks yummy creations on several occasions and I can see what the hype is all about.  It's a casual carnival-like setting with a sea of options to satisfy everyone's taste buds.

Over the weekend, several of us laid by the pool at my sister's apartment on Brickell Avenue. After soaking in some rays we walked over to the food trucks that were settled right down the street at Tobacco Road, Miami's oldest bar.  Between all of us we indulged in ginger brussel sprouts from Dim Saam a Go Go, a Latin macho burger from Latin Burger, and Oreo milkshakes from Sugar Rush. I couldn't have asked for a better and more delicious lunch!

Paper Crown.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yes, I was one of those girls who liked to watch Laguna Beach and loved to watch the Hills. Not surprisingly I grew to become a fan of Lauren Conrad.  Over the past few years she come out with several books, appeared on countless magazine covers, and launched several clothing lines.  Her newest line, Paper Crown, is by far my most favorite line yet and consists of fresh, beautiful, and crisp pieces. The clothing has not arrived in stores just yet, but we all have something to look forward to.  I wish Lauren the best of luck in launching Paper Crown and I'm eager with excitement to see more of her work!

California Dreamin'.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This past weekend I hopped on over to the West Coast for a wedding just outside of San Fransisco.  This was my first time in the beautiful state of California so I was in for a treat.  We were welcomed to some uncharacteristic weather which consisted of rain and cooler temperatures, but that didn't put a damper on our fun.  Friday and Saturday were spent partaking in the wedding festivities and I must say that it was one darn good wedding!  From bocce ball on Friday night to tearing down the dance floor on Saturday night, each guest could without a doubt say they had a great time. 

Luckily on Sunday, the sun came out and we were able to explore San Fransisco.  One thing that I associate California with is In-N-Out Burger so I made sure I scooted myself in to grab a burger.  One word to describe the food: fresh. This made for one satisfied customer! All in all, the eight hours or so that were spent in the city was more like a tease and I can't wait to go back to see everything that I missed. 

White Chocolate & Rasberries.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last week I shared my Valentine's Day dinner with you.  Today I'm sharing the sweetest part of the meal: the dessert.  If you've ever been to Nordstrom Cafe and had their White Chocolate Bread Pudding, you know what this dessert is all about.  I'll warn you from the beginning that it does require a lot of work, however, it is worth all the effort.  This scrumptious dessert is the perfect combination of white chocolate and raspberries.  I made this for just the two of us and ended up with a ton leftover (not that I'm complaining).  Next time I'll have to serve it for a gathering so that everyone can share in on the deliciousness.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
3 ½ cups white chocolate chips
6 large eggs
12 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 loaf day old French baguette, 24-inch cut into ½-inch inch slices
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 cups fresh or unsweetened frozen raspberries
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup white chocolate morsels
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 (4-ounce) chunk white chocolate, to be cut into ribbons

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk and sugar and heat just until hot. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate morsels and stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, yolks and vanilla. Whisking constantly, gradually drizzle the warm cream mixture into the eggs, continuing to whisk until smooth and well blended. (If the cream mixture is too hot, the eggs will curdle. That's why it's so important to add cream very slowly and whisk constantly.)

Lay half of the bread slices in the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour half of the cream mixture over the bread and allow to absorb the liquid, about 5 minutes. Layer the remaining bread slices on top and pour the rest of the cream mixture over them. Press down on the bread, making certain it completely absorbs the liquid. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Bake the pudding for 1 hour. Uncover and continue to bake until the liquid in the center has evaporated and the pudding is golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

When the bread pudding is cool, cover and refrigerate until cold. Run a sharp knife between the edges of the bread pudding and the sides of the pan to loosen the pudding, then invert the pan onto a cutting board and tap the bottom to release the pudding. Peel off the parchment paper. Trim off the crusty edges around the sides. Cut the bread pudding into six 2- by 3-inch rectangles, and then cut each rectangle in half on an angle to form 2 triangles. Wrap and store in the refrigerator.

To make the raspberry sauce, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, sugar and orange zest and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the raspberries, reduce the heat to low and cook until the fruit begins to fall apart, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Then remove seeds by using the back of a spoon to press the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl to catch the berry sauce. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the white chocolate sauce, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the cream until hot. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate morsels and stir constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Keep warm.

To finish and assemble the dessert, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a rimmed baking sheet and place the bread pudding triangles on it, leaving space between the pieces. Brush the triangles with the melted butter. Bake the triangles until heated through and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

For each serving, stand a hot bread pudding triangle on its side in the center of a large dessert plate. Run a stripe of white chocolate sauce across the plate, including over the top of the pudding. Pool some of the raspberry sauce at opposite edges of the plate. Garnish with raspberries and with ribbons of white chocolate cut with a vegetable peeler.

Rain Plan.

Friday, February 18, 2011

1. Domino Dot Stick Umbrella, Umbrellas.net  2. Bubble Umbrella, Totes  javascript:void(0)
3. Mod Baltic Stick Umbrella, Umbrellas.net  4. Umbrella Stand, Amazon 
5. Trench, GAP  6. Golka Rain Boots, Aldo  7. Equestrian Rain Boots, Banana Republic 
8. Hunter Original Rain Boots, Shoes.com

I have a love-hate relationship with rain. As long as those little raindrops don't get in the way of my plans I am perfectly okay with this force of nature.  I especially don't mind it on a lazy day watching movies.  Inevitably, there will be those moments when I have to grab my umbrella, pull my rain boots on, grab my trench, and face the rain. I couldn't help but fall in love with these umbrellas and rain boots.  And that owl umbrella stand is the perfect (and most adorable) way to store those umbrellas.  Ain't she cute? A trench coat is the must-have piece for spring.  I already bought mine and I can't wait to wear it while strolling the streets of New York.  Rain or shine, it'll sure come in handy!

Meat & Potatoes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We celebrated our Valentine's Day over the weekend and it couldn't have been lovelier! Javi arrived with not one, not two, but three bouquets of different flowers! He gave me a traditional rose bouquet, a tropical flower arrangement, and my new found favorite, gladiolas! My gift to him was a scrumptious meal of our favorite beef tenderloin that I paired with yummy sweet potatoes and a side salad.  This meat recipe has been in our family for years and it is seriously a slice of heaven. No. Joke. It's served with a mushroom Roquefort sauce that is the absolute cherry on top!  As far as the dessert goes, that's something I must share with you another time. Yes, it's that good that it requires a whole other post!

Sweet Potato Casserole

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used less)
1/4 cup evaporated low-fat milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray
1.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. To prepare potatoes, place potatoes in a Dutch oven or large pot; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Cool 5 minutes.

Place potatoes in a large bowl; add granulated sugar, evaporated milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs; beat well. Pour potato mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

To prepare topping, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; stir with a whisk. Stir in 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over potato mixture; arrange pecans evenly over top. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or just until golden.

Preheat broiler (remove casserole from oven).

Broil casserole 45 seconds or until topping is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

We Have a Winner!

Monday, February 14, 2011

We are extremely excited to announce the winner of our first giveaway! Kirsten from Ruffles and Buttons is the winner of a handmade burgundy cowl.  Thanks SO SO much to everyone that entered our giveaway.  We truly wish we had a cowl to give to each and every one of you!  We hope this is the first of many giveaways so stay tuned.  Since we started blogging we have been exposed to so many wonderful people from around the world.  We love hearing from you on our blog as well as learning more about you on your own blog.  THANK YOU for everything!

Love Is In The Air.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day! Hope your day is full of love, happiness, and lot's of yummy sweets!  Be sure to enter our giveaway for a handmade cowl.  We will announce the lucky winner tonight!

A Valentine's Day Greeting.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I've never been big into Valentine's Day and to be quite honest, this is the second time I actually have a special someone to celebrate with.  While there were TONS of adorable cards that I wanted to grab at the store, I thought it would be best to create something more personal and created by me!  I got the idea from an item I saw on Etsy where the designer commemorates couple's favorite road trips.  I immediately wanted to recreate it into a card to reflect the places I've been with my boyfriend.  Given we have been together for just less than two years, we sure have a lot more places to visit! I'll spare you the corny message I wrote inside the card but it went something along the lines of looking forward to traveling to new places.  With this said, I suggest you create your own card this Valentine's Day.  Whether it's for that special someone or a friend!

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