Friday, September 30, 2011

Roadside Treasure

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were on a very much needed coffee run when we drove by a huge FREE sign on a piece of furniture.  I immediately made him turn around to take a lil looksey, and he of course reminded me that we had enough projects going on at the house and where would I even put this thing.  But you see, I have always wanted to find something for "free" on the side of the road to bring home and vamp up.   So it finally happened, we loaded up the free dresser/buffet - it's the little things in life that make this girl happy!  Here is a photo of what she looks like right now....

She is totally in need of some help... maybe some black  paint with vintage glass knobs??? Any ideas? 
Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mascarpone & Chocolate Toffee Bars

These bars are surprisingly easy to make and so amazingly delicious! The combination of chocolate and mascarpone gives the chocolate layer a rich silky texture, and the crunch from the toffee bits make these bars so irresistible!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Mascarpone & Chocolate Toffee Bars
adapted from:  food network

Cooking spray
1 pound refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 cup chopped chocolate toffee, divided (recommended: Heath Toffee Bits)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Ghirardelli)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

  • Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray a 8x8 inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Lay a piece of parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the cookie dough, 1/2 of the toffee bits and vanilla extract. Using damp fingers, gently press the dough nto the prepared pan. Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes.
  • Place the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted. Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes.  
  • Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the remaining toffee bits and sliced almonds over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate layer is firm.
  • Peel off the parchment paper and cut into 1 1/2 by 2-inch bars. (I cut the bars into bite size pieces, they are so rich in flavor, a little goes a long way)   

    Transformation Thursday

    The Shabby Nest

    Tickled Pink at 504 Main

    Permanent Posies

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Halloween Craft Printable

    Good Morning! 

    I recently became a follower of  Jamielyn and her AMAZING blog, I {Heart} Nap Time.  You must check it out, full of all kinds of fabulous ideas!  She posted about these super fun Halloween printables...

    So head on over to I {Heart} Nap Time, become a follower and download your free printables HERE.
    Thanks Jamielyn!

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Grape Harvest Cocktail

    Happy Friday Friends!!!

    Since grape harvest is in full swing here in California, thought it would only be appropriate to celebrate with a grape infused cocktail.

    White Grape Sparkler

    ice cubes
    24 red or green grapes, frozen
    3 cups white grape juice
    1 bottle of Brut champagne or sparkling water such as San Pellegrio, for an alcohol-free version
    fresh mint sprigs

    Place several ice cubes and 6 frozen grapes in each glass.  Pour 3/4 cup of the grape juice into each glass, then top with champagne (or sparkling water).  Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy!
    Cin Cin!

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Fun Halloween Wreath Ideas

    I'm getting so very anxious for FALL!  Check out these fabulous Halloween wreaths!

     Black Lace Wreath @ Craftily Ever After

    Black Burlap Wreath @ The Inspired Nest

    Elegant Feather Wreath @ Uncommon

     Candy Corn Wreath @ The Cards We Drew

    Rolled Burlap & Rosette Wreath @ Just Sew Sassy

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Cauliflower & Bacon Gratin

    I love gratins!  There's something about the crunchy breadcrumbs laying over the cheesy goodness that I can't resist.  This simple, but rich with flavor recipe is sure to become a favorite!  Enjoy!

    Cauliflower & Bacon Gratin
    adapted from:  food network

    1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
    3 slices day-old sourdough bread
    3/4 cup heavy cream (or milk & half & half to reduce the fat)
    1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained (optional)
    8 ounces bacon, cooked until crispy and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I use turkey bacon and cook in micro)
    1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 pound cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
    Olive oil, for drizzling

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish, set aside.
    • Use food processor to blend the bread until it forms into crumbs.
    • In a large non-stick skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly until all the butter has been absorbed and the bread crumbs are toasted, about 2 to 4 minutes.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream/milk and flour. Add the capers (if using), bacon and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    • Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and toss with the cream mixture. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
    • Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Barbie & Ken Tie the Knot!

    I could hardly believe my eyes when I came across these fabulous photos of Barbie and Ken's wedding!!!  After 50+ years, they have finally made it official!

    Cheers and Happy Weekend!

    photo shoot by: BdG Photography 
     photo source: glamour weddings

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Tutorial Tuesday

    Good Morning!!!

    Took a quick trip to Michaels yesterday...okay maybe it wasn't quick, more like I roamed the isles for over an hour looking for some inspiration for a project I have been wanting to try out.  I found all kinds of paper that I needed to have, 6 sheets of scrapbook paper for $1!!!  Recently, I have been seeing all kinds of tutorials for decorating the old school composition notebooks as journals, and thought all my newly purchased stack of paper would be perfect.  

    Here's a photo of my first attempt
     So excited to make more, I think they will make fun gifts, especially once you personalize them with all the decorative paper and embellishments, like chandelier crystals!!!

    • composition notebook
    • mod podge
    • paint brush
    • scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, fabric or any decorative paper you like
    • cardstock
    • ribbon
    • scissors or paper cutter (if you are terrible at cutting straight lines like me)
    • a brayer (special lil mod podge tool available at most craft stores)
    • embellishments
    • Trim 2 pages of your decorative paper to about 1" bigger than the book.
    • Trim 2 sheets of card stock for inside of the front & back covers to desired size (think I cut mine about 1/4" smaller than the cover).  I used black cardstock to match the decorative paper.
    • Use paint brush to apply Mod Podge over the entire front cover, then lay 1 piece of your decorative paper over the Mod Podge.  Use the brayer to help smooth out any bubbles.
    • Cut slits on the corners to help fold in.
    • Apply Mod Podge to the inside cover of the book to adhere the 1" pieces of paper that are folded in.
    • Cut ribbon to desired length, then paste 2" of it to the inside cover.
    • Paste 1 sheet of cardstock to the inside cover, over the ribbon.  Smooth out with brayer.
    • Repeat for the back side and back inside cover.
    • Place something heavy over entire book for a few hours.

    Linking to:
    DIY Club

    Transformation Thursday

    The Shabby Nest

    Tickled Pink at 504 Main

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

    Oh my goodness, these tarts are pretty amazing!  The best part is, they look elegant but they are super simple to make.  So much flavor all layered up on a flaky puff pastry, so delicious!

    all prepped, ready for the oven

    Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
    adapted from:  food network

    1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
    olive oil
    4 cups thinly sliced or chopped yellow onions (about 2 large onions or 1 bag of chopped onions from Trader Joe's)
    3 large garlic cloves, chopped or cut into thin slivers
    1 large shallot thinly sliced
    3 tablespoons dry white wine
    2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (if you don't add this, it will still taste great)
    4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a veggie peeler
    4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (plain works well too)
    1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
    3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

    • Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. 
    • Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. 
    • Place the pastry circles on 1-2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions , shallot and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. 
    • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
    • Using a paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. 
    • Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
    • Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge.
    • Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese over the onions.  Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart.
    • Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper. 
    • Scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
    • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.  
    These tarts are perfect as an appetizer or for dinner served with a tossed green salad.  
    Bon Appetit!

    Linking to:

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Lunch Box Notes

    I can't believe it's already September and all the lil kiddies are off to school.  Check out these adorable lunch box note cards...

    These cards are so cute, kinda makes me wish I was packing a lunch.  Head on over to jones design company to see all of her other amazing work and to download your  FREE copy of these sweet note cards.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Restoration Hardware

    Good Morning!

    Have you received your Fall 2011 Restoration Hardware catalog yet???

    It's pretty amazing, here are a few of my favorites!

    In love with anything burlap and tufting, swooning over this

    In LOVE with this chandelier and mirror for the bedroom

    So fun admiring the photos for ideas.  Happy Shopping!

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Prosecco & Pomegranate Splash

    Happy Friday!!!

    Since I'm such a lover of bubbly, thought I would share this simple and refreshing cocktail.  What better way to kick of your Friday!

     Prosecco & Pomegranate Splash

    bottle of Prosecco (Italian Champagne), chilled
    carton of pure pineapple juice (Trader Joe's has my fav)
    pomegranate seeds

    1.  Place a few pomegranate seeds at the bottom of a champagne flute.
    2.  Add a splash of pineapple juice and fill with champagne.


    Hope everyone has a super fun and safe Labor Day Weekend!