Friday, August 18, 2017

Gingham Sheet Set - Serena & Lily

Do you agree that one of the great simple pleasures in life is a new set of sheets?  I just love the feeling of new sheets - it's such a treat!  I've had my eyes on the Serena & Lily Gingham sheets for a while, so I was absolutely thrilled when the lovely people at Serena & Lily offered me a product to review.

Serena & Lily offers so many beautiful and timeless sheet sets, so it's hard to choose, but I really, really love the simple gingham pattern.  I choose color Fog.  I love the neutral color and it works well with my existing bedding and pillows.

The sheets are made in Portugal (love that) and are 100% cotton percale.  The cotton percale gives the sheets a nice crisp feel.

I've been using the sheets for almost a week now and am really enjoying them.  I love that the scale of the gingham on the fitted sheet is different than on the pillowcases and top sheet.

I had to throw in a few dahlia photos.  I bought these at the farmers market last weekend.  They are just so pretty.  I'm growing dahlias for the first time in my garden this year, but they must be a little behind because I've only had a few open so far. Lots of buds though, so that's a good sign!

For 20% off your first order at Serena & Lily, use this link.  Big thanks for Serena & Lily for the opportunity to review these lovely sheets!  I have a feeling I'll be enjoying these for a long time to come.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Orecchiette with Green Olives, Capers and Breadcrumbs

I loved this pasta so much I've already made it twice - It's definitely getting added to the list of regulars on rotation.  The flavors are unique and robust and of course I love all the pretty green ingredients.

{Recipe adapted from this one from Bon Appetit}

- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup panko or plain breadcrumbs
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
- 12 ounces orecchiette or pasta of your choice
- 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
- 3 tablespoons drained capers
- 1/2 ounce freshly grated Parmesan, plus additional for serving
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1.  Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in small skillet over medium heat and add breadcrumbs, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper.  Remove from heat and toss with dill and lemon zest.  Set aside.

2.  Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked al dente.  Drain and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.

3.  Meanwhile, using a chef's knife mash garlic cloves and anchovy on a cutting board to create a paste.  In a medium bowl, add paste, parsley, basil, 1/2 of the olives, and 1/2 of the capers.  Chop the remaining olives and capers and add to bowl along with remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil.

4.  After draining pasta, return to cooking pan.  Add sauce and 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water.  Toss and slowly add Parmesan and stir.  Add additional cooking water if needed until sauce coats pasta.  Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

5.  Serve pasta topped with breadcrumbs and additional breadcrumbs.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stationary Love

I just ordered a new set of stationary from Minted and had to share.   Minted has been my go to for a long time now for my Christmas cards and stationary - their products are all just so pretty and I always appreciate the quality and detail and the many choices and personalized options.  

I liked so many of the foil-pressed personalized stationary designs - it took me a really long time to decide which one I wanted!  I finally selected this design called Watercolor Delight.  You know I had to pick a design with green!

The green watercolor paired with the rose gold foil is really, really pretty.

I also love the design on the back of the note cards and the envelope wrappers.  

Minted is currently holding their semi-annual Foil-pressed event.  Now's the perfect time to order any of their beautiful Foil-Pressed products!  Check out all of the details of the current promotions here.

If you like the Foil-Pressed stationary, you might also want to check out the Foil-Pressed Wedding Invitations, Foil-Pressed Wall Art, and Graduation Invitations & Stationary.  Trust me, you'll have a hard time picking just one design!

*This is an affiliate post - all opinions are my own.  Big thanks to Minted for being a great partner and sponsor!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spaghetti with Lemon & Olive Oil

Lemon in pasta always reminds me of my visits to the Island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast in Italy, where lemons are as big as grapefruit and lemon is the most popular flavor in everything (Hello, limoncello).

{Beautiful Capri}

What I loved about this pasta is the simplicity of it - It's so quick and easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.

(Recipe from Smitten Kitchen; find original here)

- 1 pound linguine or spaghetti 
- 3 lemons
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
- Black pepper & salt to taste
- large handful of fresh basil, shredded

1.  Cook pasta in large pot until cooked al dente.

2.  While pasta is cooking, zest lemons until you have about a tablespoon.  Next, juice lemons (I put mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds before juicing to get more juice).  You should have around 1/3 to 1/2 cup of juice.

3.  Drain pasta and reserve 1-1/2 cups pasta water.  Keep pasta in colander and in the pot you used to cook pasta, boil olive oil, cream, zest, and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water for two minutes over high heat.  Return pasta to pot and stir until coated.  Add the Parmesan and 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  Toss, and toss, and toss until cheese is melted and juice incorporated.  Add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time if your pasta is too dry.  Taste pasta and add more lemon juice if desired.  Stir in basil (reserving some for garnish).  Season with salt & pepper.

4.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with a splash of olive oil, remaining Parmesan, and basil.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus & Pistachios

I don't know about you, but I wasn't a very healthy eater around the holidays this year.  I tried to get back on track this month, and this salad certainly fit the bill.  It's healthy but full of interesting flavors.  Also, let's talk about pistachios.  I've never eaten them much before, but my mom had a bowl out at holidays, and yum....I am hooked.  What a delicious snack.

- 1 medium size golden beet
- 1 medium size red beet
- 5 oz. arugula
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 3/4 cup roasted salted pistachios
- 1 whole pint grapefruit, cut into segments
- 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles

For Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3/4 extra virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scrub beets and trim any roots or stem.  Place in a small glass baking dish and sprinkle with a small amount of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.  After an hour, test to see if beets are tender.  If not, bake for an additional 15-30 minutes or until tender.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Once beets are cool to the touch, rub skins with a paper towel or your hands to remove the skins.  Slice into 1/2 cubes and set aside.

2.  Make dressing.  Mix all ingredients except for olive oil in a small mixing bowl.  Once combined, slowly add oil while using a whisk to incorporate.  Keep whisking as you slowly add the oil until dressing takes on a creamy consistency and all oil is incorporated.

3.  Assemble greens and all salad toppings.  Serve and drizzle with dressing.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Best Ever Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I've been looking for a good chocolate cupcake recipe and I think I found it.  This one is chocolaty, moist, and overall just delicious.  If you like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you will love this frosting.  I couldn't get enough of it.  I won't tell you how many days in a row I had one of these cupcakes...

{ Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.  Find it here }

- 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup good quality cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients:
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Chocolate sprinkles for decorating, optional

1.  Several items need to be at room temperature before baking.  make sure to set these out ahead of time.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners (16-18).

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Combine with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

4.  Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (Use 1 scoop of a standard size ice cream scoop for each cupcake). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

5.  Frosting:  Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

6.  Frost each cupcake and enjoy! I used a piping bag with a Wilton 1M frosting tip.  

* Makes 16-18 cupcakes.


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