Friday, August 15, 2014

11 Modern Cork Finds For Small Kitchens—Rad Grocery Bag, Included!

Got a small kitchen? Put a cork in it! These neutral accessories are a no-brainer way to add natural frill to your teeny space and—bonus—they're all kind of good for the environment, too. Fact: Cork is inherently sustainable because it's both biodegradable and recyclable (aka greener than the tupperware stash mom sent you) so your shopping spree is kind of, like, a good thing for the planet! Add a few pieces to your countertop this weekend Planeteers...


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The 3-Ingredient Tiki Punch That Puts All Other Summer Cocktails To Shame—MAKE IT!



I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this but I thought you might want to plan for happy hour. If you love pineapple...and booze...and making a statement with your drinking vessels, this is the 3-ingredient cocktail for YOU! How it works: Scoop out the insides of a pineapple. Whiz 'em up with rum, lime juice and ice in a blender. Pour that shit back into the pineapple—done! What do you think?


If pineapple isn't your jam, head over to the Good Housekeeping website to get my other next-level "fruit cup" cocktail recipes. Hint: One's served in a giant watermelon! If you're fancy, go ahead and garnish your drink with fresh mint and/or fruit. Here's a super-quick how-to video if you need some guidance (or just really want to listen to reggae). Now slip into your bikini and get sipping! 





PINEAPPLE RUM PUNCH
SERVES: 2 to 4

1 small pineapple, bottom trimmed slightly so it sits flat
1/2 to 3/4 cup spiced rum
Juice of 1 lime

1. Slice off the top of the pineapple, about 1 inch from the leaves. Scoop the insides of the pineapple into a blender using an ice cream scoop to create a hollow pineapple cup; pour any juices into the blender.
2. To the blend, add the rum, lime juice and ice. Blend until smooth; pour back into the pineapple (or divide among cups). 


Q: What other kinds of fruit would you like to see turned into an cocktail cup!? xo Erin

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The 3-Step Guide To Whitewashing Boring Wood. Every Gal Should Know How—SO Easy!




We needed a large whitewashed serving board for a photo shoot at work. For weeks I searched stores, prop houses and the web without any luck. Then I thought, "Duh, girl! Why don't you just make one yourself!?"

You know I'm crafty but I often draw the line at wood. It's a mental block, plus I can't really use power tools in our teeny Brooklyn apartment. That's why this DIY didn't occur to me sooner. But now I feel like a wood whiz! 



Now you may be thinking, why on earth do I need a whitewashed board? Well first of all, it looks frickin' awesome! If you're a fellow blogger, whitewashed boards make gorgeous photo backgrounds. If you're a laid-back hostess, use this for a modern buffet setup, cocktail tray or dessert bar. But there's no need to stop there, this basic technique can be used to whitewash any wood object: Your hand-me-down dresser, kitchen table, ugly chair, photo frame...get creative!

What you'll need: 
  • Something made of wood
  • Sand paper
  • White latex paint 
  • Paint brush


Okay, ready: Put your wood thing on newspaper or a drop cloth to keep your workspace clean. Sand that sucker! Go with the grain so the paint settles in nicely. Next, stir together equal parts white latex paint and water in a disposable bowl. I used about 1/4 cup each. Diluting the paint is what gives you that sexy, sun-bleached translucent look!


Cover your wood board or object with a thin layer of paint—make sure you get the edges! Don't worry if it doesn't look pale enough for you yet, you can go back with a second coat. 

Let the paint dry a bit, then go back with another coat, if desired. Too heavy handed? Gently wipe off some paint using a clean, damp sponge. That's it! Let her dry and pat yourself on the back.

Are you ready to go totally whitewash-crazy now!? I hope so. I'm curious, do you think you could pull off this simple DIY now that you know how easy it is? I'd love to know!

 If you DO get your paint on, tag your before and after photos on Instagram using the hashtag #FFwhitewash—I'll post 'em on the blog xo -Erin




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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Best No-Cook Tomato Sauce Ever, You Can Make It In Just 3 Minutes!

Hi there, lazy girl! Can we talk dinner for a second? I've been in a bit of a food rut lately, coming home from work with absolutely zero desire to cook. What about you? No judgment. I'm right there with you.

Before you reach for that store-bought marinara sauce though—before you open that can (jar?) of worms—I have an idea! One of my all-time favorite recipes is this No-Cook Tomato Sauce and there's no better time to make it than right now.  


I await tomato season just so I can make this easy 5-ingredient dinner. All you need: Tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and a food processor. Whiz up the sauce in minutes, then store it in the fridge for a week or two. I love serving it over pasta (because it's fast and mindless) but this sauce is also amazing spooned on grilled steak, chicken and/or fish.

You may have seen that I shared this recipe over on Freutcake last week but I wanted to post it here, too, in case you missed it. It's that good! A bunch of Freutcake readers have already reached out to say it's their new go-to easy dinner, so I hope you give it a try. If you do, oblet me know what you think! Happy eating xo

NO-COOK TOMATO SAUCE PASTASERVES: 4 to 6 
1 pound spaghetti4 large ripe tomatoes1 large handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped3 to 4 cloves garlic, pressedGood-quality parmesan cheese, for gratingPANTRY STAPLES: Extra-virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook at the label directs. 2. Trim any gnarly bits off your tomatoes, then cut into quarters and add three to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse 15 to 20 times until finely chopped. Add the remaining tomato and pulse about 5 times or until coarsely chopped; transfer tomato mixture to large bowl. Stir in basil, garlic, about 1/4 cup olive oil, two big pinches salt, and pepper to taste. 3. Drain the pasta. Toss with the prepared sauce. Divide among plates and top with lots of finely grated parmesan cheese. 



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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fresh Summer-to-Fall Kitchen Decor In Black, White and Red—$70 & Under Modern Picks!


Doing a little grownup back-to-school shopping? Save a few bucks for your home! Adding a new piece to your kitchen will ease—and embellish!—the transition from summer to fall. Stick with a clean base palate of blacks and whites, then add your favorite POP (pop of color)! 

My POP-preference is constantly shifting, which is why I've never actually pulled the trigger on adding color to our monochromatic kitchen. But I'm loving all of the bright red accents I'm seeing right now. Could this be our new hue!? Click through these hot picks—and let me know which POP you're crazy about in the comments below (I'd love to know)! xo


Printed Napkin in Crosswalk Strip; $10 / Polka Dot Drinking Glass; $14 / Borderline Baker-Pot; $17 / Recreation Center Dot Mug; $30 / StarrX Red Wall-Mount Bottle Opener; $10 / Mini Triangle Cutting Board; $37 / Cotton Tablecloth; $13 / Melio Step Stool; $70 / Bodum Caffettiera; $30 


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fast & Fresh (No-Cook) Nachos & Plenty-o-Tequila—The Best Summer Staycation Staples! xo


While my lovely friend Leah's sipping gorgeous margaritas in Tulum, I'm sharing an easy no-cook recipe on her blog and planning a Mexi-inspired staycation of my own! Care to join me? I think we should all kick back, find a friend with a pool, and veg out with magazines and cocktails for a few days (or at least a few hours)—deal!? 

The recipe I whipped up for Leah is my delicious dream of what one might be served at a scenic beach resort in Tulum—fresh, simple, bold flavors—but I've never been to Mexico so who knows! And who cares? Can't we just zen out with some nachos!!? That's what I'd like to do. So here you go...


NO-COOK SUMMER “NACHOS”
SERVES: 2 to 4

1 large ear corn
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/4 c. crumbled cotija or low-fat feta cheese, plus more for topping (optional)
Kosher salt
1 avocado, halved and seeded
1 small clove garlic
1 red jalapeño chile pepper or similar, very thinly sliced (optional)
Tortilla chips, for serving

1. Cut the kernels off the cob using a chefs knife; transfer to a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice, the mayonnaise, cotija and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.

2. Scoop the avocado into another small bowl using a spoon. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic, and pinch of salt and mash until combined.

3. Divide the avocado mixture, corn mixture, and jalapeño slices among tortilla chips—about 1 teeny scoop each! Top with more cotija, if desired.


Q: What's the most delicious poolside snack you've ever had on vacation!? I LOVE eating pork soulvaki and French fries on the beach when we visit family in Greece xo



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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Biggest, Fluffiest High-Hat S'more Cupcakes Ever—Summer Party Ready & Easy To Make!

Just when you thought summer s'mores couldn't get any better, someone turns 'em into the fluffiest cupcakes ever! He, he. I dreamed up these cupcakes from the top down: Marshmallow Fluff is my favorite ingredient in the whole world—remember these!?—and I love adding it to meringue. It gives the plain egg-white topping a little extra flavor, which (lets be honest), it desperately needs.   
So what goes with fluffy marshmallow frosting? Chocolate and graham crackers, obvs! Each cake has a graham cracker bottom crust, similar to a cheesecake cupcake, with lots of butter and salt. YUM!  
Top that with an easy chocolate cake batter loaded with mini chocolate chips—things are looking real good. I half thought about adding a molten center to really play up the ooey, gooey s'mores effect but I was feeling lazy. Mini chocolate chips melt through out the cake giving you a similar gooey-ness which was good enough for me.

If you're short on time, you can absolutely skip the meringue-making and just top these with marshmallow creme straight from the jar. Keep in mind that it slides and oozes, so don't over do it! You can still pop them under the broiled for a few minutes to get things all toasty. Just an easy shortcut if you need one... 




HIGH-HAT SMORE CUPCAKES
MAKES: 12

FOR THE CRUST
1 sleeve graham crackers

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt

FOR THE CAKE
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup canola oil 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

FOR THE MARSHMALLOW TOPPING
2 large egg whites
1 cup marshmallow cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. Make the crust: Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the butter and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Divide among the prepared muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon each; press into the bottom.

3. Make the cake: Stir together the milk and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup; set aside.  Whisk together the sugar, oil and vanilla in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, in 2 additions, stirring gently with a rubber spatula until combined and almost smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips

4. Divide the batter among the prepared cups and bake until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed,16 to 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan 2 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely.

5. Make the marshmallow topping: Preheat the broiler (or use a kitchen torch). Put the egg whites, marshmallow cream, sugar, salt and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat until stiff-peaks form. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip or gallon-size resealable plastic bag (snip one corner). Pipe meringue onto cupcakes. Place under the broiler or use a kitchen torch to toast the meringue until golden brown, about 30 seconds.

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