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

loaded mediterranean street fries

loaded mediterranean street fries


  • 1 cup plain full fat yogurt
  • half of a zucchini, grated
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a few pinches of chopped fresh dill
  • salt and lemon juice to taste
Marinated Tomatoes and Chickpeas
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4-6 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • fresh minced parsley to taste
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste
Other Ingredients:

  • 1 bag sweet potato fries
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and roughy chopped
  • pita bread and oil for frying
  • Toppings (see notes)
  1. TZATZIKI: Combine the tzatziki ingredients together - taste and adjust until it hits the spot for you.
  2. TOMATOES / CHICKPEAS: Toss the chickpeas and tomatoes together with the oil, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley to marinate.
  3. SWEET POTATOES: Bake the sweet potato fries according to package directions. While the sweet potatoes are baking, chop the lettuce and fry the pitas.
  4. PITAS: For the pitas, cut each one into strips and fry in a shallow layer of frying oil (such as vegetable oil) until golden brown and slightly crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  5. ASSEMBLY: Assemble the individual boats with layers of fries, tzatziki, marinated tomatoes and chickpeas, fried pita, romaine, feta cheese, and more. Mwah!

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad


1 pound | 500g (dry weight) thin spaghetti pasta
1 pound | 500g boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped (about ⅓ of a red onion)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (adjust to your tastes)
8 roma tomatoes, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
balsamic glaze to serve (optional)


Cook pasta according to package directions; Drain and rinse in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
While the pasta is boiling, combine the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Season the chicken on both sides. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil on in a grill pan or skillet, and sear chicken breasts over medium-high heat until browned on both sides and cooked through (about 6 minutes each side). Remove from pan; set aside and allow to rest.
Add the olive oil to the same hot pan / skillet. When hot, sauté the garlic and red onion until garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute). Turn off heat. Add in the tomatoes, toss them lightly, and add the mixture onto the pasta. Add the vinegar, parmesan cheese and basil or parsley. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Slice the chicken; add to pasta. Toss the pasta with all of the ingredients until well combined.
Top with 2 tablespoons extra parmesan and serve immediately with balsamic glaze (optional), OR refrigerate up to an hour before serving.

Spice Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Spice Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients :
1.5lb. salmon filet
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 avocados, diced
⅓ cup fresh cilantro
½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
salt to taste
garnish with sliced red onion

Instructions :
Preheat oven to 350.
Pat salmon dry.
In a small bowl, add garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, honey, and olive oil.
Rub the season blend on the flesh side of the salmon. Place on baking sheet skin side down.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the flesh flakes off with a fork.
Remove from oven and let rest.
In a small bowl, add avocado, cilantro, red wine vinegar, lime juice, red pepper flakes, garlic clove, and salt to taste.
Top the salmon with with avocado salsa and garnish with red onion. Serve!

How to Make an Herb Garden from a Pallet

Working with The Home Depot on the outdoor and gardening campaign has been fun, and for my last post I am going to be using those wonderful herbs I purchased last week on my shopping spree.

I have always wanted to make an herb garden, but with a small yard, 4 children, and 2 dogs, there is not much room left for an herb garden, or any garden for that matter.  That was an issue until I came upon the wonderful pallet garden on Pinterest a few weeks ago.

Pruning Raspberry Shortcake Dwarf Raspberry

Last year I bought and planted a ‘Raspberry Shortcake’ raspberry bush. It has some new leaves at the base of the plant now (early spring). Should I cut off the bare stems leftover from last year?

Answer: ‘Raspberry Shortcake’ is a wonderful dwarf, thornless red raspberry bush from the BrazelBerries Collection. With a charming rounded habit, dense, rich foliage and bundles of nutritious and sweet summer berries, these lovely shrubs are sure to add a little burst of brilliant color to any garden.

In early spring new sprouts will begin to develop from the soil; eventually new growth should also appear on pre-existing canes (stems). Make sure to leave all new growth—whether it’s growing from the ground or on existing stems—intact. The new canes that sprout from the ground will not fruit until next year. The old canes, on the other hand, should produce berries this summer. Removing these now would mean no fruit this year! You should cut off only any truly dead stems—those that show no signs of new growth after the rest of the bush has leafed out. Dead canes can be removed at ground level.

Here are a few additional growing guidelines for ‘Raspberry Shortcake’:

•    Raspberry Shortcakes grow successfully in average, well-drained soils.
•    Grow in full sun—supplying afternoon shade in areas with harshly hot summers.
•    Water regularly, making sure the plant has consistent moisture—usually 2 to 3 times a week when grown in the ground and daily in containers, depending on rainfall. However, do not waterlog the plants.
•    Fertilizing is not necessary; however if you desire, feed them with a balanced liquid fertilizer in early and late spring.
•    Let the bushes go dormant in winter.

Vegetable Cutlet

Vegetable cutlet is a healthy, nutritious, delicious and very popular Indian snack. Vegetable Cutlet is filling, spicy, irresistibly delicious. It can be served as an appetizer, afternoon/evening snack with tea or as a side dish with dinner or lunch.    It is also good for small parties and get together.

Vegetable Cutlet is a delectable combination of potato, green vegetables and spices. It is very easy and simple to make, crisp outside and soft inside. It is mostly served with tomato ketchup and green chutney. These cutlets can be baked, deep fried or shallow fried.

  • 3-4 potatoes boiled and mashed
  • 5-6 french beach finely chopped and blanched
  • 1/4 cup green peas blanched
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp cornflour 
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp gram masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • Oil for shallow frying
  • Salt to taste
1. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add cumin seeds,
    finely chopped onions and cook till onions turns transparent.
2. Add french beans, green peas and mix well.
3. Now add coriander leaves red chili powder,turmeric powder, gram masala,
    salt, saute for 2-3 mins.Switch off the flame.
4. Take boiled and mashed potatoes in a big bowl and add cooked vegetables
     in it.
5. Mix it well, leave it to cool.
6. Divide the mixture in equal portions.
7. Take a portion of the mixture, give it a desired shape.
8. Repeat the same process for remaining mixture.
9. Mix cornflour and water make a thick paste.
10. Dip each cutlet in the prepared cornflour mixture, roll in the bread crumbs
      till they are evenly coated.
11. Heat some oil in a pan, shallow fry cutlets till both sides are evenly golden.
12. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or green chutney.

#Chicken Caesar Bruschetta #Recipe

Ingredients :
1 pound cooked shredded chicken
1 french baguette, (long and thin)
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the Caesar Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup whole milk, or cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons raisins, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, then chopped into small pieces

Directions :
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Slice the baguette into 1/2'” thick slices then place onto a baking sheet.
Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 5-7 minutes until slightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Add all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Run the dressing through a fine strainer to get out any raisin pieces that might be left behind.
Add the shredded chicken to a bowl and toss together with ½ cup of the dressing.
Top each toasted baguette slice with about 2 tablespoons of the chicken, and a pinch of the shredded lettuce.
Top with shaved parmesan cheese and serve.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


This one pan meal is a great way to kick-start your healthy eating New Years Resolutions. It’s easy to make, incredibly tasty, and quick quick quick – ready in about 30 minutes! All you need is a handful of veggies, some chicken breasts, a little Mediterranean seasoning (your favorite store-bought OR my easy recipe) and some fresh lemon slices for the ultimate one pan meal. Put this one on your menu, it will not disappoint!
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mediterranean seasoning (see note)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped or sliced
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 medium onion, chopped or sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and about 3 teaspoons Mediterranean seasoning on both sides. (see note)
  2. Combine lemon sliced, red bell peppers, olives, onions, and capers in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and stir to coat. Sprinkle with remaining Mediterranean seasoning and stir to coat well.
  3. Arrange chicken, lemon slices, red bell peppers, olives, onions, and cappers on a large, greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 15--20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender. Top with cracked black pepper and fresh herbs (optional) and serve immediately.
-For the Mediterranean seasoning, you can use about 1½ tablespoons of your favorite store-bought or homemade Mediterranean seasoning, OR you can whip up your own by stiring together the following: 2 teaspoons dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon ground thyme, 1 teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
-I like to cook the chicken in a greased skillet over medium heat on the stove top for 1-2 minutes on each side. This is an optional step but I like the added color and the slightly crispier exterior on the chicken from browning in the pan this way before baking,


  • 3-4 large russet potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • optional: fresh parsley (or cilantro), ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. In a small bowl whisk together salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle potato wedges with the shredded cheese, tossing to coat, then sprinkle with the seasoning mixture.
  3. Place potato wedges on prepared baking sheet in a single layer with skin-sides-down. Bake for 25-35 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and golden. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and dressing for dipping.

Spiced Honey Roasted Almonds

Ingredients :
  • 2½ cups raw almonds
  • ¾ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ⅛ cup raw sugar
Instructions :
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix ¾ tsp kosher salt and ⅛ cup raw sugar.
  4. Melt honey in a non-stick skillet over medium heat just until it's liquidy than add almonds and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Mix until almonds are coated. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread nuts in a single layer over the lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F.
  6. Remove from oven and let almonds cool on the counter 5 minutes, then toss them in the raw sugar/salt mixture.
  7. Place the almonds back onto the baking sheet or on the parchment paper and let them cool completely.

Half Crown Braid Hairstyle Tutorial

This easy braided hairstyle gives you the best of both worlds. You can wear your hair out but also keep your hair back from your face. If you have a fringe or bangs your can leave them loose or pin them back with bobby pins.

This easy braided hairstyle work in curly and straight hair. I wore this style in my wavy hair that you can see in my outfit post.

You’ll need two small clear hair elastics and bobby pins to do the half crown braid in your hair.

-Start by taking a 1-2 inch section of hair on one side of your hair above your ear. Split this section in three
  and make a braid (plait).
-Angle the braid back around your head and secure the end of the braid with a small clear hair elastic.
-Repeat on the other side, taking a section above your ear and making a braid (plait). Secure the end with a
 small clear elastic.
-Bring the first braid across the back of your head and pin in place with bobby pins.
-Cross the second braid over the first and tuck the end in behind the first braid. Secure in place with bobby

Styling tips
-Use small hair elastics as they are easier to hide in the finished hairstyle.
-Stretch out your braids before pinning them in place. This emphasises the shape of the braid and makes
  your hair look thicker.
-If you hair is long you can fold the braids in half before pinning them at the back of your head.
  Thank you for your lovely comments on my first outfit post and on facebook! I hope you try this hairstyle  
  too. Let me know how you would wear it!

Snowflake on Electric Blue


piCture pOlish Electric Blue is a dark navy blue with a fierce shimmer throughout!  Here I’ve used two coats, though in real life (without bright lights and macro shots), one coat would be fine!  I used It’s So Easy StripeRite in white to do a simple snowflake and sealed it in with Glisten & Glow HK Girl (the rest of the nails are done in Out the Door…I save my HK Girl for nail art!  Must conserve its amazingness!).

Snowflake manicures are so delicate and beautiful and can be done in so many ways.  It always amuses me though how “pretty” snowflake manis are when in real life, snow can be so gross after we drive around in it, but they’re still fun to wear!  piCture pOlish is based in Australia, but is available worldwide through a variety of stockists!  To learn where you can get piCture pOlish shades

Friday, January 20, 2017

Embellishments for Long Hair

Romantic, curly mermaid hair is beautiful and appropriate for any summer occasion, and it’s made best with adorable hair embellishments like starfish, seashells or flowers.

Colorful Braided Half Updo

We know that this isn’t the kind of look that every woman would try, but the color combo  is so rich and close-to-hypnotic that we had to include it. With or without the blues and purples, consider the half braided updo. It’s quick, easy and super cute.

#Baked Parmesan #Tomatoes

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes – super simple appetizer and a fun way to eat your tomatoes! Magic happens when you pair together tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.

This week has been the longest week ever. But I say that every single week. I love Fridays, hate Mondays and everything in between, blah blah blah blah blah!

That’s the bad news. The good news is I have a new favorite appetizer. And that’s these tomatoes here! Seriously, it’s my new favorite way to eat tomatoes. These baked Parmesan tomatoes are the bomb!! Strong emphasis on the word baked, hence good for you.

It’s almost magical when you pair together tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. I don’t know, but these two ingredients are a marriage made in heaven. Who ever invented this combo knew what they were talking about.

ingredients :

  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into 3 slices each
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a little bit of olive oil for drizzling over the top (optional)
  • parsley for garnish (optional)
instructions :
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. In a small bowl toss together the Parmesan cheese, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Top each tomato slice evenly with the Parmesan cheese mixture. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, this is optional.
  3. Bake for about 5 to 10 minutes or until you notice the cheese starts to turn gold. Garnish with parsley and serve.

nutrition information :
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 42 Fat: 2.2 g Saturated fat: 1.4 g Trans fat: 0.0 g Carbohydrates: 2.9 g Sugar: 1.6 g Sodium: 100 mg Fiber: 0.8 g Protein: 3.6 g Cholesterol: 7 mg

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Online hair tutorials can be daunting, for sure. Rarely can these how to’s be mastered by someone with little to no hair skills. If your one of those people who don’t have that natural beauty school brain. You’ll want to save this in your favorites right away! Here’s how the easiest hair tutorial ever is done!

This hair was curled the day before using THIS IRON. It was slept on and not brushed in the morning, so ” second day hair ” is a big yes for this look.

Spray your favorite dry shampoo at the root. We are currently obsessing over THIS ONE.

If you need additional texture or if your hair feels to soft (like it will slip out of bobby pins) add a light styling aid. Here we used THIS TEXTURE SPRAY, scrunching it into the middle and ends.

Grab two small sections from the front/sides above your ear. Tie them together in the back using a clear elastic. (see photo for placement)

Flip that! Twist that ponytail up and over itself (we went inward toward the scalp). Remember in grade school when you would do the “topsy turvy”? That’s basically the same thing.

Use 3 more small elastics and make 3 tiny low ponytails like you see in the photo.

Take the middle ponytail and tuck it up and over your top (twisted) ponytail. I like to give these sections a little twist on their way up. Secure these sections using a large bobby pin. You can do detail work at the end using smaller pins but it’s best to secure first using the larger pins.

Continue pinning your side sections.

Again notice she’s giving it a small twist away from the face before tucking and pinning. It creates better texture and color depth.

Continue twisting and pinning.

Add extra pins for extra security if you need them!*
At the end, if you see any fallen pieces, flyaways or hairs out of balance, use small bobby pins to tuck and secure!

Lebanese lamb flatbread


For the pizza dough

  • 400g ‘00’ flour, plus more to dust
  • 100g fine semolina flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 325ml warm water

For the topping

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp baharat (see Know-how)
  • 500g British lamb mince
  • 75g sultanas
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 250ml natural yogurt
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • Leaves from 4 fresh mint sprigs
  • Leaves from 16 fresh coriander sprigs

healthy #chicken parmesan

Hi, friends! It’s Monday after a beautiful, brunch-filled weekend celebrating All The Mothers and we’re going to start talking about this cheesy, saucy, super-delicious family-loves-it chicken in T-3 seconds. Because seriously, there can NOT be much waiting. I NEED THE CHICKEN PARM.

But first, I just need you to know that yesterday I went ahead and celebrated myself for being Sage’s mom.

Two extra pieces of cake, a long nap with Sage, and a good long binge on Instagram. I am just that honorable of a person that I couldn’t let the day go by without some deep self-recognition. I mean, who else forgets to feed her, makes her participate in my SnapChat recipe videos, stuffs her with treats after doing one tiny trick (“Sage, SIT. No, SIT. Over here. Come on, SIT.”), and gets her all riled up for no reason other than to laugh and take pictures and then give more treats? Badge of motherly honor right there.

But enough about adventures in dog parenthood.

The thing I’m somehow trying to say is actually just this right here —> I want you to have this great recipe for cheesy, saucy, crispy, healthy chicken parmesan!

It can be ready in about 20 minutes with very minimal prep, it only requires 7 simple ingredients, and it’s healthy. Meaning: let’s just acknowledge that for many of us, this is real-food focused and veg-friendly enough (that’s zucchini on that plate!) to feel like a good, solid, wholesome Monday dinner with protein and veggies annnnd also still cheesy and saucy and golden brown crispy enough to still be delicious.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Maple Walnut Macarons

About a cup of walnuts
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple extract
(Filling recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 280ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grind the walnuts in the food processor until coarse. Measure the ground walnuts so that you have 2/3 cup. Add the powdered sugar to the 2/3 cup ground walnuts and continue processing until fine. Sift through a fine mesh sieve.
Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters. Gently stir in the vanilla extract.
Add half of the sifted walnut mixture, and gently fold it into the meringue using a flexible silicone spatula. And the remaining walnut mixture and continue gently folding.
Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 0.4-inch tip or a plastic baggie with a corner snipped off. On your prepared baking sheets, pipe out 1-inch circles.
Holding the cookie sheet with both hands, smack it against your countertop a few times to help the batter settle and even out. This also helps get the elusive “feet”!
Let the piped macarons sit out for at least fifteen minutes to help build a slight film over the top. After 15-20 minutes, check the batter by lightly tapping your finger on the top of a macaron. Your finger should bounce off the top without anything sticking to it. If they’re still sticky, allow to sit out for up to an hour!
Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are hard. Take care to not underbake (insides will still be mushy) or overbake (tops will begin to brown). Allow to cool before filling.

Maple Walnut Filling:
1 cup walnuts (optional)
1 stick softened butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grind the walnuts in the food processor (make sure they're smaller than whatever tip you are using for piping).
Beat the butter until smooth. Alternately add the syrup and powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Add the extracts. Stir in the nuts. Pipe onto cooled macarons and sandwich them together. I dipped them in melted chocolate and crushed walnuts, but you don't have to!


1 Limon boxed cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
4 eggs
1¼ cup milk
⅓ cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp Lemonade from concentrate
2 Tbsp Lemonade from concentrate
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water
8 oz block ⅓ less fat cream cheese
½ cup room temp butter (1 stick)
3 Tbsp Lemonade from concentrate
½ teaspoon vanilla
5½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°
Spray 2 8" round cake pans generously with cooking/baking spray.
In mixer beat all your ingredients on low for 30 seconds and then on medium for 2 minutes.
Keep the remaining frozen lemonade concentrate in the will need it again.
Bake according to package directions (I baked for approx 30 minutes) until cake is set and toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in pan...about an hour. Do not remove.
When the cakes are cooled level them off so they are flat on top.
Poke holes in cake that wasn't cut using a fork.
Next make your glaze: in a medium bowl combine powdered sugar, lemonade and water.
Stir until smooth.
Pour equally over the top of the cakes..still in the cake pans.
Cover and let sit for at least an hour, but overnight is best in refrigerator.
For frosting cream butter and cream cheese together until combined.
With mixer on low add your lemonade and vanilla.
Slowly add in your powdered sugar and then beat on medium for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
When ready to frost remove your cakes from the refrigerator.
Loosen cake around the edges with a butter knife so they will release easily.
Frost as desired.

Color block #nail art with Kinetics Gala The Big Party collection

Hello Lovelies!

Je vous trouve aujourd'hui pour vous montrer mon petit nail art du moment !

J'ai reçu la collection automne/hiver de Kinetics, Gala The Big Party, et quand j'ai ouvert mon colis, j'ai tout de suite été attirée par les deux teintes que j'ai décidé d'associer aujourd'hui :)

La première c'est Met Gala*, un superbe violet profond opaque en deux couches et la deuxième c'est Running Out of Champagne*, un mélange de paillettes argentées, noires et cuivrées opaque en deux à trois couches ♥
Pour les associer, j'ai opté pour une déco assez simple et graphique avec une petite touche de striping tape et voilà le résultat !

Un petit nail art assez "classe" et festif qui pourrait fonctionner pour le réveillon si vous manquez d'idées ;)
Vous aimez ?
Bonne journée !

See More Here

#Milk and #Cookies #Cake

Fluffy Vanilla Cake
adapted from Layered

5 large eggs whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans and set aside

In a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together the egg whites, vanilla, and 1/4 cup milk and set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer.  With the paddles attachment, mix on low until combined.  Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup milk and mix on low until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Turn the mixer to medium-high and mix until combined.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

With the mix running on medium-low, gradually stream in the egg white mixture.  Work in about 3 batches, making sure everything is incorporated before adding in more liquids, scraping the bowl in between additions.

Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared pans.  Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Cookie Dough Filling
adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter together on medium until fluffy and combined.  Add in the vanilla, flour, and salt.  On low speed, mix until incorporated.  Gradually increase the speed and add in the milk until desired consistency is reached.  Fold in the chips until evenly distributed.

Milk Soak
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar

Whisk together all of the ingredients until combined.

Whipped Vanilla Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 to 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons cream or milk

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium until smooth.  With the mixer on low, gradually add in the remaining ingredients.  Once the sugar begins to incorporate, turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes).  Adjust the sugar and cream quantities until desired consistency is achieved.

mini chocolate chips

Once the cakes have completely cooled, trim until even.  Generously brush each layer with the milk soak.  Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or serving dish.  Spread on half of the filling.  Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.  Frost the cake with the whipped buttercream and decorate with mini chips (flat/bottom side out).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Charlotte à la mangue

Ingrédients :
Pour la génoise :
5 oeufs
165g de sucre
165g de farine

Pour la mousse à la mangue :
100g de purée de mangue
6 feuilles de gélatine
400g de crème fraîche liquide
2 blancs d’oeufs
120g de sucre
40g d’eau

Pour le miroir à la mangue :
250 g de purée de mangue
50g de sucre
3 feuilles de gélatine

Pour la décoration :
300 g de boudoirs
Crème fouetter
feuilles de menthe
morceaux de mangue coupés
jus de mangue

DIY Mason Jar Tiki Torches

Hosting an outdoor gathering this weekend or this summer?  If you live in the south especially, you know the mosquitoes are already out in full force.  Burning citronella torches or candles seems to be a common way at attempting to keep them away from your porch, backyard, or deck.  So here’s a quick and easy solution and bonus – it uses mason jars which are sort of all the rage and highly available right now. 

You can make your own tiki torch by using a jar, oil, and a wick.  I saw the idea on Pinterest with no souce but it was pretty self explanatory. 

I reused some old jelly jars that are actual mason jars and used tiki torch wicks although I think you could use a large candle wick as well.  You could use anything from the vintage blue mason jars, they even have some pretty green mason jars out right now remade to look like the old vintage jars, or any glass jar you have around.  You will also need a lid whether it is the lid that came on the jar or a ring and canning lid that you can buy in the canning section at any store.  The oil was $5, the packs of wicks $2, and the jars I already had. 

How to Build a Simple Chevron Outdoor Wall

This can be adapted whether you have a stone patio surrounded by dirt and grass, a balcony or a free standing deck like we have. The best part is this wall cost us about $150 to build!

Dan is a PLANNER. Which is good. He keeps me in check. He is the measure twice guy. Thank goodness. So when we decided on chevron, he scurried away to his planning desk in the rec room for a good few hours to mock up some options for us.

The supply list looks like this:

Twenty Four 1x6x5′ lengths of pressure treated lumber
Two 4x4x8′ pressure treated posts
Three lengths 2x4x8′ pressure treated lumber
Deck Screws
Four 2×4 wood-to-wood connector plates
3″ lag screws & washers
Circular Saw – We have and love this one
Compound Sliding Mitre Saw
Nail Gun – We love this one
Impact Drill and Driver – (here’s the kit we have)
The entire structure is 7.5′ wide and 6′ tall, and attached to the deck with 4×4 posts. To secure them, we initially thought we’d use deck plates just screwed into the top of the deck, but decided that would not withstand an Atlantic Canadian hurricane. Instead, Dan notched out the 4×4 posts and secured them to the deck joists.

A persian love #cake

1 cup 250ml yogurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs
1 cup 220g caster sugar
1 1/4 cups 150g ground almonds
1 cup plain flour 150g or semolina
6 cardamom pods
2 tbsp rosewater
6 tbsp chopped pistachios
pinch of saffron strands
100ml almond milk (or whole milk)
zest from a lemon or orange
Pre heat oven to 180c 350f
peel the cardamon pods open and remove seeds, crush with a pestle and mortar.
in a cup add the saffron strands to the milk and warm in the microwave.
in another bowl beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy then fold in the yogurt
fold in the ground almonds, semolina and flour and baking powder. then add the ground cardamom, orange or lemon zest and chopped pistachios, add the rosewater to the milk and saffron mixture and stir into the cake batter and pour into a deep lined tin (22cm 9 inch)
bake for about 45 minutes.
while it is cooking make a syrup
juice of 1 orange or lemon
zest of 1 orange or lemon
1/2 cup 125ml water
1/2 cup 125g caster sugar
2 tbsp rosewater
add all ingredients into a pan and simmer until thickened. (approx 5 minutes)
brush onto warm cake.
decorate the cake with chopped pistachios and rose petals.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
2 large sweet onions, sliced
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons beef base (such as Better than Boullion), divided
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, divided
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
24 slider buns
12-16 ounces gruyere cheese, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 : Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, about 25-30 minutes. If the onions start to look dry or burnt, add a tablespoon of water to the pan.

2 : In a large bowl, mix the ground beef with half of the beef base and half of the Worcestershire sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3 : Add the beef to the skillet full of onions. Increase heat to medium-high and brown the beef, breaking it up and mixing with the onions as you go. Once browned, drain off excess grease.

4 : Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Separate the tops from the bottoms of the slider buns. Fit the slider bottom buns tightly on the baking sheet.

5 : Evenly distribute the beef and onion mixture over the bottom buns. Top with the gruyere cheese. Cover with the top buns.

6 : In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter with the remaining beef base. Stir in the remaining Worcestershire sauce and continue to mix until well-combined. Using a pastry brush, brush the beefy butter mixture over the top buns. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, thyme, onion powder, and garlic powder.

7 : Bake the sliders until the cheese is fully melted and the tops of the rolls are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Crispy Hash Browns

My father, being of the solid German stock that he is, is naturally a connoisseur of all things potato. In particular he loves nothing more than very crispy shredded hash browns for breakfast with his eggs.

Now, there are many ways of frying up potatoes for breakfast, and I think we do all of them.

But the shredded variety of hash browns holds a special place in his heart (mine too!) and for that reason he has mastered the way to make them extra crispy.

He explained his approach to me one day, while my mother was in the room and couldn’t help but overhearing:

ME: Dad, how do you make your hash browns turn out so crispy?
DAD: Use a potato ricer. It’s the only thing I’ve found that really gets the moisture out of the potatoes. The trick to these hash browns is to get rid of as much moisture as possible before cooking them.
MOM: I always used paper towels to press out the moisture.
DAD: Your hash browns are mushy.
MOM: I made this family hash browns for forty years and you never complained. They’re perfectly fine.
DAD: They were mushy.
MOM: You ate them!
DAD: Yes I did. And they were mushy.
(and the debate continues as I quietly leave the room.)

Mom’s hash browns are mushy. Tasty, edible, yummy, but still mushy. They aren’t as good as dad’s, and that is just a fact.

The trick to great, crispy, shredded hash browns is to squeeze as much of the moisture out of them as you can.

Then you need to make sure you are using enough oil, the pan is hot but not so hot as to burn the potatoes, and you spread the shredded potatoes out in an even, thin layer, the thinner the better.

Monday, January 16, 2017




Easy DIY Phone Charger Holder

I don’t know about you but I’m finding my phone battery runs down fast during the day. I think it’s probably the fact that I play Amazon music all day while I’m working, and possibly that I’m checking Instagram, emails and more all day. Oh and that doesn’t even count actual phone-type stuff like calls!

So I’m needing to charge it lots and I’m excited about this new easy DIY Phone Charger Holder! It keeps my phone up off the counter and all tidy, plus I can move it around to whatever room I’m in – super easy! I hate to confess the number of times I’ve tripped over my phone cord and flipped my phone onto the floor. We’ll keep that our little secret though k?

It doesn’t take long to sew this up, you can make one up in about 30 minutes! And don’t be nervous about the little grommet at the top – that couldn’t be easier to install. You don’t need any tools!

Note: I don’t really recommend hanging this for any length of time from your charger, you don’t want to put a ton of weight on that. I keep a Command Hook next to my outlet and hang it there – it’s super convenient and doesn’t put any stress on your charger or the outlet!

This sweet little pocket all dressed up with a bow is the perfect size for holding your phone, tucking in your charging cord, and even a set of earbuds! Wouldn’t that be a fun gift? A cute little wall charger holder and a matching set of earbuds!

Let’s get started!

Main Front and Back – 2 pieces 10 1/2″ x 6″
Pocket Front and Back – 2 pieces 7″ wide at top and 6″ wide at the bottom, and 5″ tall
Fusible Fleece – one piece 10 1/2″ x 6 and one piece 7″ x 5″
Ribbon – 10″
Pom Pom Trim – 30″
1 Plastic Curtain Grommet
To start, cut out all your fabric and fleece pieces. Iron the fleece to the back side of one of the pocket pieces and one of the main pieces. I like to fuse it to the pieces that will be the front, it keeps everything looking nice.

Smores Milkshakes Recipe

Ingredients :

For the chocolate base:
7.75 ounces (5 bars) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate, divided
For the homemade whipped cream:
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
For the chocolate graham cracker milkshake:
1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream (plus 1/2 pint for assembly)
1 cup whole milk
½ cup crushed graham crackers
For assembly of the milkshake:
1 graham cracker, crushed
1.55 ounces (1 bar) HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate
2 tablespoons chocolate Syrup
2 large marshmallows

Instructions :

1. Heat chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals until melted. Chill in fridge for 10-15 minutes until thick enough to spread. Set aside 1/2 cup.

2. Use the back of a spoon to spread a layer of chocolate around the inside of your glass. Spread more around the rim of the glass. It should be thick, but if it starts to harden or 'seize' you can microwave it on 10 second intervals until it softens.

3. Make the chocolate shake by blending ice cream, milk, 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate and graham crackers until smooth.

4. Use leftover melted chocolate as 'glue' to attach pieces of HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Bars to Microwave on 10 second intervals if the chocolate starts to seize.

5. Spoon a generous spoonful of ice cream into glass. Pour in milkshake mixture.

6. Pipe whipped cream on top using an open star piping tip.

7. Sprinkle with crushed graham cracker. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.

8. Place two large marshmallows on a heat-safe surface and toast with a kitchen torch.

Plant a Winter Hanging Basket

Materials Needed:
  hanging basket
plastic bag
wide, low pot
scissors potting soil
small plastic pot
watering can
Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'
heathers (Erica)
winter-flowering violas
small ivies

  Before You Plant

Stand the basket on a wide pot to keep it stable during preparation. Then add a specially made basket liner.

  Cut Out Planting Holes

Lay a circle of plastic bag over the bottom of the liner to act as a reservoir. Cut out a few evenly spaced crosses around the sides of the liner.

Add Ivy Around the Edge

Add a layer of potting soil to the bottom. Wrap paper around the root ball of each ivy and push them through the holes in the sides.

  Plant the Top and Water

Add the plants and fill in around them with more soil. Firm them in. Place a small plastic pot near the center to act as a watering reservoir. Water into this pot to make sure it reaches the plants' roots.