Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flower Love: The Bouqs



January in Michigan:  It's cold.  The sun is hardly out.  It snows.  Sometime a lot.  It's the time of year when I want fresh flowers in every room of the house to cheer me up and get me through the seemingly endless winter.  Bouqs to the rescue!  I can't tell you how excited I was when I was contacted by The Bouqs wondering if I would be interested in reviewing their flowers.  Heck yes!  Bring on the fresh flowers! 

 
 
Have you heard of The Bouqs?  Flowers are cut on the day you place your order and are sent directly from the farm. This means that you receive your flowers 2-4 days after they are cut vs.10-14 days when ordering through traditional flower services.  Ordering is also very simple - $40 flat fee including shipping for their standard size bouquets. 
 
 
There aren't many flowers that I don't like, so it took me a while to decide what to order.  I finally settled on roses called 'Dawn'.  The orange / coral color is so pretty and is just what I needed to cheer me up on the cold, grey days we've been experiencing.
 

My flowers arrived on the day I specified, all packaged up neatly in a long narrow box.  I ordered the Deluxe size (24 roses) and had plenty to make a few different arrangements.  I decided to share the love around the house!



I love having flowers on my nightstand.  I only needed 6 roses for this pretty little arrangement.  10 days later that I'm happy to say that they are still looking good and remain on my nightstand!






This larger arrangement found a home on my coffee table. The flowers brightened up the whole living room.  Just what I needed after packing up all of my Christmas stuff!
 






Big thanks to The Bouqs for helping me get through the winter! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Weekend Kitchen: Pink Prosecco Cake


When Katrina posted a recipe for Champagne Cake on her blog, Chic Little House, a few weeks ago, I knew it would be the perfect cake to make for my sister's birthday.  She loves pink and champagne and sparkling wine, so I knew she would love this! 
 
The original recipe is from the book, Booze Cakes, written by Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone

Ingredients (for cake):
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup butter (unsalted) at room temperature 
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 6 egg whites
- 2 cups Champagne, Prosecco, or Sparkling Wine of your choice 

- 2-3 drops of red food coloring

Ingredients (for Pink Posecco Frosting):
- 1 cup butter (unsalted) at room temperature
- 8 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 -3 Tablespoons Champagne, Prosecco, or Sparkling Wine of your choice 
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 drops of red food coloring.

Directions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (I bake with my oven on convection, so I baked at 325 degrees).

2.  Grease and flour (2) 9" cake pans and set aside.

3.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Add butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Continue to beat and slowly add in egg whites a small amount at a time, stopping a few times to scrape down the bowl. Add in the vanilla.

4.  Mix in flour mixture and Champagne, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour. Completely mix in the ingredients before adding more.  Add 2-3 drops of red food coloring, or enough to achieve desired color of pink.  Mix thoroughly until food coloring is incorporated into batter.

5.  Pour batter into pans and bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick when inserted in the center comes out clean.

6.  Remove cakes from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Flip over to remove from pan onto cooling racks.  Do not frost cake until it has cooled thoroughly.

Frosting Directions:

1.  Place butter in mixing bowl and beat for one minute.

2.  Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth.  Add Champagne, milk, vanilla, and continue to beat until smooth.  Add 2-3 drops of food coloring and beat until all of coloring has been incorporated into frosting.

3.  Frost cake and enjoy!

My thoughts on the recipe:
- The original author says to only use a sweet champagne for this.  I have to disagree.  I used a dry Prosecco (we're Italian, come on - I had to use Prosecco!) and the cake tasted delicious. 
- The frosting is EXTREMELY sweet.  I am a frosting person, but this was really, really sweet.  Another reason I think a sweet champagne may have been too much for me in the cake batter.  The frosting has plenty of sweetness for the entire cake!  I only did a light frosting on the sides of the cake and had quite a bit leftover. 
 





 



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pomegranate Moscow Mule



Looking for the perfect holiday cocktail?  I think I may have found it!  I made this last week for our Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit!  I purchased my Moscow mule mugs last spring and look for any excuse to use them - I think they are so pretty. 
 
 


{ Recipe inspired by this one from the Cookie Rookie }

{ Makes 4 }

Ingredients:
- 5 shots of vodka
- 1 cup of pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime juiced)
- 2 bottles of ginger beer (24 oz. total)
- Pomegranate seeds and lime slices for garnish

Directions:
- Combine vodka, pomegranate juice, and lime juice in a pitcher and stir.
- Fill cups with ice.
- Pour ginger beer into cups (divide evenly)
- Pour juice/vodka mixture into each cup.
- Gently stir with swizzle stick and garnish with pomegranate and limes
- Enjoy this refreshing cocktail!

* Also delicious as a non-alcoholic beverage
* If you aren't sure how to work with pomegranates, check out this easy tutorial
* To get more juice out of your limes, microwave them for 25-35 seconds before juicing. 







 






 I enjoyed this cocktail so much - I think I'll be making it again for Christmas!

I'm sharing this post with:
- Linda of Coastal Charm at her Show and Share Party
- Judy of DIY by Design at her Fall into Fall Party

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Easy Holiday Centerpieces


I am feeling extra festive and ready to decorate for the Holidays this year.  It may have something to do with the snow and cold weather that we've already had.  It's felt more like January than November for the last couple of weeks.  I also didn't decorate at all last year since we moved into the new house a few days before Christmas.  I'll be getting my Christmas tree next weekend and can't wait to pull out all of my ornaments and other decorations.
A few years ago, I posted this Holiday Centerpiece idea.  It is one of the most pinned posts from my blog.  I thought I'd put together an updated version (with much better photos!).  This idea is so simple to put together and inexpensive too.

Supplies:
- Clear glass vases of various sizes
- Berries or branches (I used Michigan Holly and American Holly; rose hips also would work and I also think pine branches would be beautiful)
- Floating candles



{ Michigan Holly }

{ American Holly }

American Holly will dry out quite quickly, so put branches in a vase of water if you are not using immediately. 

Arrange branches in vases.  No need to be too careful here - just push them in until you have a good amount in each vase.

Add water to each vase until branches are completely submerged.  Once you add the water, the colors of the berries and leaves become more vibrant and beautiful.  So pretty!


I was going to add the floating candles right away, but I think the vases looks so pretty even without the candles.  I took a few more pictures than I was planning on! 






Just think of all the places you could use these.  On a dining room table as traditional centerpieces, on a buffet table, a sofa table, a coffee table, and maybe even a single one in your powder room if you are having a party. 








 I finally added the candles...
Aren't they festive?  I just love how they look.



Have a wonderful week and a great Thanksgiving!

I'm sharing this post at these great parties:
- With Linda of Coastal Charm at the Show & Share Party
- With Lisa of Shine Your Light at the Best of the Nest Party
- With Judy of DIY by Design at the Fall into Fall Party


 

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