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Riu, Montego Bay Jamaica


Spur of the moment, my fiance and I booked a trip on beachdestinations.com ... We landed in Montego Bay, Jamaica 48 hours ago. We're staying at the Riu, and so far loving it! This is the second Riu location we've had the pleasure of trying. 

I've had my first experience with jerk chicken and have found some other dishes that I can't wait to get home and try to recreate!! 
The food is great - the staff is friendly - the beach, heavenly

I'll get into a more thorough review at the end of our vacation ~ but I'm very much hoping the next 4 days drag by :)

Linzer Tart Cookies


These cookies are one of my favorite treats to enjoy with a hot cup of coffee and the New York Times in the morning... or as a treat to pull out of my lunch bag during my break... or after dinner with an ice cold glass of milk.  Such fabulously delicious cookies, there truly is no wrong time of day to indulge in them!  They'll steal your heart with their raspberry goodness :)


There is an endless supply of Linzer recipes on the internet - I have neither a surplus of ingredients, nor patience, to waste my time on subpar ones though so I went on a hunt for suggestions.  My occasionally fantastical karma kicked in for a moment while I was reading one of my favorite blogs (BlueSatinSash) - I'm very big on "old family recipes" ... so when I saw these girls were baking up some Linzer Love I asked if they would be kind enough to share their recipe - and voila!  A little while later I was spoiling myself with a little cookie heaven!


(Read More to enjoy such delightful treats!)     :)



Homemade Party Streamers



No matter what the occasion I love homemade decorations so much more than store bought ones!  They have a classic feel and add a personal touch to any occasion you may be hosting. 
I had a lot of crepe paper left over from a previous project so I began searching for other uses for it... 
  I came across these really simple streamers at http://jordanferney.blogspot.com/

Here are Jordan's instructions:

Step 1: Cut off about a 2"-3" section of crepe paper.
Step 2: Start on one side and cut fringe evenly spaced. Leave some space in the center.
Step 3. Turn it over and cut fringe on the other side, still not cutting too far into the center.
Step 4: Muss up the fringe on each side, separate the layers and scrunch it with your fingers.
Step 5. Et voila! Unroll and hang your fringey streamers and celebrate! 

 

I also had a couple rolls of crepe paper - so I adjusted the instructions to work for them also.  I would remove about a centimeter size of the roll, cut the fringes, fray, and unroll...




Prosciutto Pizza


This is by far the most delicious combination of ingredients that I have had on a pizza... ever!  I came across a picture of this pie on Flickr and simply needed to recreate it (http://bit.ly/fbAKx0) 

I'm not going to give specific measurements for each ingredient - just make it according to preference using each.  It's best when the dough is rolled out thin and becomes nice and crunchy. 



Ingredients:

Fresh pizza dough
Shredded mozzarella
Fresh spinach
Prosciutto
Portobello mushrooms, sliced
Grana padano cheese, shaved thin
Truffle oil
Extra virgin olive oil

My only suggestions are to brush a thin coat of EVOO onto the rolled out dough and bake for maybe 3minutes or so just to get the crunch going... then begin your layering with the mozzarella, after that it's your choice!  Drizzle the truffle oil very lightly over the pie, it's extremely salty in excess, but otherwise adds an outstanding flavor to this pie.

Bake for 9-13minutes depending on your oven at 475°

Monday Blues..

It's Monday & it's rainy here in New York.. Blue seems to be a fitting color for today ~ So here are some fun Blue* things I came across over the weekend

1. Headphones { Urban Outfitters }
2. Blue Couch Photograph { http://plushpalate.blogspot.com/ }
3. Zip Front Dress { Forever21}
4. Wide Leg Jeans { J Brand Bette Wide Leg }
5. Pillow { Pier1 }
6. Locket Ring { House of Harlow }
7. Sunglasses { Forever21 }
8. Tea Mug { Urban Outfitters }
9. Essie Nail Polish { Barbados Blue, Coat Azure, Mezmerised }

Sunday Inspiration


“Happiness is like a butterfly ~ the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…”
{Thoreau}

Today... Think of some of the little things that you enjoy doing ~ find a moment to do them... and then you'll find the happiness that follows...


{ Take your moment today, and cherish it as your own }
After all, "Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths."  
{Etty Hillesum}



Orecchiette with Swiss Chard



This is a recipe that is wonderful for lunch or dinner.. and perfect for parties & picnics, since it tastes just as delicious at room temperate as it does right out of the skillet.  Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean, but it is also one of the most nutritious - following right behind spinach. Often overlooked in the produce section of the grocery store, I chose to highlight it for today's recipe  :) 

Ingredients:

1lb Orecchiette pasta
2 Bunches Swiss Chard
Ricotta Salata
2 Cloves garlic
Chicken breast, grilled and sliced (optional)
Salt & Pepper


·      Cook pasta until al dente
·      Lightly crush and sauté the garlic in olive oil. Once garlic is browned remove with a slotted spoon and discard
·      Chop and sauté Swiss Chard in the olive oil over medium-low heat…  about 5 minutes, or just until it begins to soften
·      Add pasta to skillet, some crumbled ricotta salata, and a bit more olive oil, salt & pepper  - stir and sauté until all ingredients are warmed (I add a lot of cheese, salt & pepper... but this can be done to taste!)
·      Place in large serving bowl and crumble more ricotta salata on top
·      Once plated I add a couple slices of the grilled chicken breast


Bon Appetit!

Spring's Approach!


Jeans: Gap; Shoes: TopShop; Wrap Bracelet: Michael Kors; Blazer: T by Alexander Wang; Striped Shirt: Day Birger Et Mikkelsen; Crossbody Bag: Coach.

March 20th marks the official start to Spring* ... The weather is already taking a turn for the more pleasant, and the late afternoon and early evenings are now filled with sunshine.  Time to break out the lovely Spring '11 fashion pieces!

Happy St. Patrick's Day


Happy St. Patrick's Day ~ or, Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig if we want to truly be in the spirit today...
I'm not going to give you a whole spiel about today's recipe for corned beef & cabbage ~
Just know... it came from my future father-in-law, and it is an Irish culinary masterpiece that you too may enjoy on this day  ~ So clank your beer mugs together at the dinner table tonight and say "Thank you Ed!"  :)



Ingredients needed: for about 5 people
3 lbs of corned beef brisket
8-10 small potatoes
5 carrots peeled & cut into 3 inch pieces-or- approx 2 cups of baby carrots
1 large head of cabbage-cut into wedges
1/4 piece of turnip
2 tablespoon of pickling spice (or bag of spice if it comes with corned beef)
Approx. 1.5 qts of water and Secret ingredient

Directions:
Place water, secret ingredient, corned beef, 2 tablespoons of pickling spice and 1/4 turnip slice in large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add potatoes and carrots then simmer for 30 minutes more. Add cabbage and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

{ Secret Ingredient = 2 bottles of Guinness Stout }

Enjoy ~ CHEERS!

Green Inspired Favs

Here are a couple of things I've come across this week that I love and that are inspired by this week's holiday ~ St. Patty's 

                            1. Bairly Louche Top - Diane von Furstenberg
                            2. Boots - Hunter
                            3. Watch - Michael Kors
                            4. Pretty Edgy Essie Nail Polish 
                            5. Bobble Bone - quirky.com
                            6. DigiDude - keychain camera tripod - quirky.com


St. Patty's Treats


With St. Patrick's Day only a few days away I thought it would be fun to share with you some recipes that would make your feast on the 17th a little bit more delightful!

Most people think that a pot of gold is what you find at the end of a rainbow... that actually isn't true ~ what you find are these pretty Rainbow Cupcakes! 

They're fun ~ they're festive ~ and they're delicious!  Leprechauns of all ages will enjoy them :)

These magical little desserts take some effort to create, but they aren't difficult.  The festive color that they bring to your holiday table makes it well worth it!!
(Read More for Instructions)



Glazed Donut French Toast


It’s a well known fact, at least in the world that I live in, that my father makes the world’s best French toast.  In 28 years I’ve never had it made by anyone else or bothered to order it in a diner or restaurant. { Once I really like something my OCD tends to make me just stick tightly to it… }

Keeping up with my grand plan for all this personal growth now that I’m out on my own I figured it would be fun to do some Googling and mesh together all of the best French toast recipes I can find….  Well, that was a brilliant idea – if I do say so myself – because the end result was Glazed Donut French Toast - a party of delicious on my breakfast plate!!      {Read more for instructions}



Easing Into Spring...

Every year when spring begins to make its slow, but welcomed, return I find it difficult to make an abrupt transition from my beloved winter boots and chunky sweaters  and scarves to open toed shoes and flowy dresses.  And so I begin my search for transition pieces, usually starting with lighter colors and fabrics.  This palette of nudes is perfect, and of course it needs to be paired with my favorite trench!

{ Pants & Shoes: asos.com; Shirt: Gap; Necklace: Forever21 }

Keeping Your Furry Loves Safe...

Maddie McWrinkles   &    FiFi Lu

There is never a moment while I'm cooking that my two BFFFs (Best Furry Friends Forever) are not right beneath my feet anxiously awaiting a crumb to drop.  While making dinner last night and being careful not to drop any onions I began thinking of all the foods that are less than desirable, if not entirely harmful, for our furry loved ones.  I felt this would be interesting and important information to share……     (See Read More for list)

Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels


Often when snack or dessert time rolls around I'm not in the mood to whip up a cake or an entire batch of cookies... but I want something more satisfying than 1/2 a box of Oreos! 

Cinnamon sugar hot soft pretzels are the perfect quick fix to my dilemma ~ They're super fast and easy to make!

• I start with a box of frozen soft pretzels
• Bake in oven according to directions on the box (usually around 350 for 5 or 6 minutes ... see? so fast!)
• When the pretzels are almost done microwave a couple slices of a stick of salted butter until melted
• Brush the baked pretzels with the melted butter & sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar { to make this already simple step even easier, just buy the little jar of already mixed cinn/sugar }
Enjoy your treats!!

The Trench ~ Forever Chic

Trench coats are like the chameleon of the fashion world… looking so unique on each person, with all the different ways they’re able to by styled. 

Fashion icons, such as Jackie O & Audrey Hepburn, brought this piece into the spotlight decades ago and to this day, regardless of how you’re wearing it, a trench adds a touch of class to any outfit.

When speaking about trench coats one can’t help but to think of the timelessly classic Burberry trench.  In honor of their fashion staple Burberry created the “living document” Art of the Trench.  Showcasing street style photography of real life people wearing this piece from around the globe, the photographs will captivate those interested in fashion and art alike… and maybe even provide your wardrobe with a little inspiration! 

Simple & Elegant....


{ Trench: TopShop; Sunglasses: Michael Kors; Clutch: Marc Jacobs; Heels: Coach }  

LolliCakes!!





Lollicakes (also known as CakePops) are CakeBalls, but on lollipop sticks - which makes them just a tad bit more fun to eat!

This is a scrumptious little candy-coated cupcake treat that is ideal for any party.  And they say that the first bite of something is always the most delicious bite.... which makes this dessert the perfect way to have every bite be the most delicious!

(Read More for short and long recipes versions)

Sunday Inspiration

Take Your Moment...

www.wunderground.com.jpg


Today is Sunday, which in many countries signifies the day of rest... Many of us, however, overlook the rest part.  


I encourage you today to step away from it all, briefly if nothing else.  Open a book and do a little reading, open a newspaper, pull an article up online and read (first closing the facebook and twitter pages!), or just sit...quietly.
http://pinterest.com/pin/2693254/ via rune guneriussen

Take a moment to just be... to just relax... however short a moment you can find, appreciate it as your own


After all, "Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths." ~ Etty Hillesum

TOMs ~ Perfect for the Weekend!

Fashion - Comfort - & Charity ... It is, in fact, possible to combine all three of these.  I purchased my first pair, of what I'm sure will be an ever growing collection, of TOMs classic canvas shoes this week, in navy.  Immediately upon slipping them on my feet thanked me.  They're so comfy and so cute!


And to top it off, TOMs has created the "One for One Movement" .... for every pair you buy TOMs sends a pair of shoes to a needy child - what can be better than that!!??   More info:  http://www.toms.com/our-movement/movement-one-for-one


I created a cute little ensemble around these sneaks and headed down to the little local town by the water for some coffee and window shopping..  Happy Weekend!

                         



    




Sweater: Anthropologie; Jeans: matchesfashion.com; Shoes: TOMs; Scarf: echodesign.com; Watch: Michael Kors; Earings: David Yurman

We're Wide Awake This Spring

As I've mentioned before I'm a short gal.... Any time platforms hit the fashion runway I'm ecstatic.  With the 70's revival headed our way this spring Wide Leg Pants & Platforms will be all the buzz!  

Here are some of my favorite looks that I've found this past week:
PhotoSource: http-//www.saucyglossie.com/category/outfits

PhotoSource: http-//www.saucyglossie.com/category/outfits
    

PhotoSource: www.net-a-porter.com/Shop/Clothing/Pants/Wide_Leg
PhotoSource: http://dressdesigndecor.blogspot.com/2010/08/up-out-door.html
              

Fancy Up Your Pizza!!



Friday PieDay - Greek Style!

Yes, I’m aware that it is only Thursday ~ but if I post this most delightful pizza recipe today, you have plenty of time to acquire the ingredients to make this dish on its most popular day.  As far as I am aware, pizza on Fridays became popular due to religious dietary restrictions (no meat on Fridays).  I believe it remains such a Friday staple because it is a fabulous way to end a long work week.  A scrumptious slice of pizza is most rewarding on a Friday evening with a big glass of red wine ~ and this recipe is perfect for just that situation….       [ "Read More"]

Don't Bite The Dust


A bit of advice my mother gave me upon moving out:

There are things you need to clean that you’re probably not noticing….

1: Your baseboards.  A lil Fantastic on a papertowel and wipe those bad boys down.

2: Your blinds.  I have Venetians … all this means is numerous horizontal planes for dust to get comfy on.   This lil gadget is a well spent $5 from HomeDepot:  Mini Blind Duster

And 3:  Look up…. Light fixtures and high hats.  Being a tiny girl, (5’1 if I push my shoulders back) I neglected this tip because I was too lazy to get on a chair and clean them.  Well, during an attempt to host my best girlfriends for dinner one night I received my serving of karma.  Apparently the itsy bitsy spider that was nesting on the chandelier above my kitchen table thought he too was invited to dinner and so calmly swung down from his little web above us.  After the shrieking stopped and the spider-tainted section of the Cesar salad was removed, we looked up and all caught a glimpse of what could have been a spider web condominium complex.        …..I stand on chairs once a week now to clean.

Golden Delight Sticky Buns!

Breakfast Heaven!!

Butterscotch is one of the most divine flavors! A rich, caramel-esque, {heavenly} treat.  When paired with a cream cheese frosting, these sticky buns will add sunshine to any breakfast!  We’ve been known to heat up the leftover ones as a late night dessert treat too
"Read More" for this delightful recipe...