Saturday, February 4, 2017


  • Chocolate cake
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup special dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for the tea towel
  • White chocolate peppermint filling
  • 1 package (7 oz) Finlandia unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 4 oz baking white chocolate , chopped
  • 4 oz candy cane chocolate , finely chopped
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Ganache
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Crushed candy canes
Instructions :
Heat the oven to 350F. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl add the eggs and sugar. With the paddle attachment on, beat on medium low speed until they are frothy, thick, fluffy, and tripled in volume. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt 3 times. Yes, 3 times!!! Do not skip this step!
Once the eggs are beaten, fold in the milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts.
With a spatula (or with the mixer on the lowest speed) fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Do not over-mix! Make sure there are no air bubbles into the batter!!!
Pour the cake batter quickly in big dollops across almost the entire pan so you don’t have to spread it out so much.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven until it springs back when pressed gently and the cake is starting to pull away from the sides, about 12-13 minutes.
While the cake is baking, sift 1/2 to 2/3 cup powered sugar over a clean tea towel.
As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, turn it over the prepared towel. Remove the baking pan and peel the aluminum foil.
Starting from the short end, roll and tuck the cake under as tightly as possible. The tighter you’re able to roll the cake, the better the roll will look!
It’s very important for the cake to be rolled while still hot. You’ll feel the heat from the cake through the towel as you roll it, it should be slightly uncomfortable, but bearable.
Leave the rolled cake to cool for at least two hours before adding the filling.
White chocolate peppermint filling
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan with simmering water. Add the chopped white chocolate to the bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted.
Set aside to cool completely.
In a mixing bowl add the butter. With the whisk attachment on, whip the butter on the lowest speed for 2-3 minutes.
Add the cream cheese, cooled and melted white chocolate, heavy cream and peppermint extract. Whip for an additional 3 minutes.
Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the chopped candy cane chocolate.
Increase the mixer’s speed to medium and whip the mixture for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Slowly unroll the cooled chocolate cake and with an offset spatula , spread the filling all over it.
Roll the cake back up. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
In a heatproof bowl, add the chocolate and heavy cream.
Microwave in 15 seconds intervals, stirring every time, until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.
Pour 2/3 of the ganache over the chilled cake. Let it slowly cover the entire cake. You may use the back of a spoon to speed up the process.
Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
Pour the remaining ganache and decorate with the crushed candy cane.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours up to 4-5 days.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit

I love what a fire pit does for any yard or garden. It brings family and friends together and makes any garden into a warm, welcoming place to let go of the stress of the day. Plus, let’s be honest, it feels like camping, and who doesn’t love that? Here’s how to build a back yard fire pit step by step, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. A quick trip to the home improvement store, a little hard work and you could be roasting marshmallows tonight!
Stone pavers, bricks, cinder blocks or other non flammable building materials
Sand or gravel
Step One:
Decide where you want your fire pit to sit, and what dimensions you would like. Make sure you choose a spot at least 25 feet away from structures or overhanging trees. An average fire pit is from 36-45 inches across and 12 inches high.
Step Two:
Mark the center of the fire pit, the easiet way is with a stake. Then tie a string half the total diameter you want the finished pit to be. In other words, if your pit will be 36 inches across, make the string 18 inches. Tie the other end of the string to another stake or stick, and pulling the string taut, walk around the stick marking a prefect circle. This is the outline of the fire pit. Or if you choose, use marking spray paint as shown in the photo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How To French Dip Burger

French Dip Burger with , Swiss and Bourbon Fried Onions

Ingredients :
  • 1 pound Certified Angus Ground Beef (I used 80/20)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound havarti cheese, sliced thin
  • 1/2 pound swiss cheese, sliced thin
For the onions:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large vidalia onions
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
For the horseradish sauce:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
For the beef broth:
  • 2 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Four Brioche Rolls

Monday, January 23, 2017



For the Crust:
  • 16 whole graham crackers
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
For the Filling:
  • 2 eight-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
For the Strawberry Sauce:
  • ¼ cup strawberry jam
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ pound strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
Instructions :
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom in foil. You’re going to be putting the cheesecake in a water bath, and you don’t want the water to seep into the pan from the bottom.
  2. Break up the graham crackers into smaller pieces and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until they’ve turned into crumbs. Add the melted butter and process again until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press evenly into the bottom of the springform pan, packing the graham cracker crumbs down as tightly as you can.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and mix on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar and mix on low speed until smooth. Blend in the milk on low speed as well. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated. Then mix in the sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and flour. You don't want to over-mix or allow too much air into the mixture.
  4. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles, and place it in a rimmed baking sheet filled with 1 cm of water.
  5. Transfer the entire apparatus to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Do not open the oven door! After 30 minutes has elapsed, turn the oven off, and let the cheesecake cool in oven with the door closed for 3 hours to prevent cracking. Chill in the refrigerator.
  6. Meanwhile, make the strawberry sauce. In a small saucepan, add the jam, water, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 3 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. (If you want your sauce really red, you can add in a couple drops of red food coloring.)
  7. Dissolve the cornstarch into the lemon juice, and pour it into the pot, whisking constantly. Simmer until the syrup is bubbly, but no longer foamy. Remove the syrup from the heat, and allow to cool. Stir in the strawberries.
  8. Serve the sliced cheesecake with the strawberry sauce spooned over the top.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

#DIY Heart Friendship Bracelet

As the month of love approaches, we thought we’d combine friendship and hearts into one Valentine’s Day themed tutorial: a heart patterned friendship bracelet! Using some candy-colored embroidery floss and your familiarity with the chevron friendship bracelet, you’ll be able to whip up one of these tokens of love in a heartbeat.

Creating a heart pattern involves just a simple modification to the chevron patterned friendship bracelet. Start by cutting 4 strands of each color, at about 24 inches each, for a total of 8 strands. Alternate the thread colors before tying them together in a knot. Remember to leave at least 3 inches of slack. Tape the knot to a flat working surface or clip onto a clipboard.

Yarn Wrapped Letter

Yarn Wrapped Letter

Perfect for a little girl. Purchase letters and yarn from your local craft store and wrap her favorite colors around the letter of her first name. Glue on craft flowers or bling when finished to really show it off.

Cucumber Tomato #Avocado #Salad

Cucumber #Tomato #Avocado #Salad

Ingredients :
  • 1 lb Roma tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
  • ¼ cup (1/2 bunch) cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt or ¾ tsp table salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  1. Place chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber, sliced red onion, diced avocado, and chopped cilantro into a large salad bowl.
  2. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Toss gently to combine. Just before serving, toss with 1 tsp sea salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper.
*Note: if you aren't keen on cilantro, fresh dill is a good substitute