Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Feta and Olive Pinwheels

I love a good puff pastry dessert... so it stands to reason that I would love a good puff pastry app, and I DO!  This recipe comes from a cold pasta salad recipe my friend makes with feta, olives, spinach and some other goodies.  It's a winning combination, and so is this pinwheel!

1/2 block of feta
2/3 cup whole Kalamata Olives
1 sheet puff pastry

I started by laying out the puff pastry flat.  And then I pulsed the feta and olives in a food processor to make smaller chunks, and spread it over the puff pastry.

Then I rolled up each side.  I also made one where I rolled it all the way from one side.  Both were delicious.

I used some unflavored dental floss to slice the roll cinnamon roll style in 1/4" thick slices.

Baked them for 15 minutes, until they were golden brown around the edges.  They were a big hit at the party!

Those layers are calling my name... I would eat nearly anything stuffed in a puff pastry...  Sundried tomatoes with mozz cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon... 

The possibilities are endless.  Just take something you like (spinach and artichokes?) And chop them up and roll 'em up in a pinwheel.  Easy and impressive app. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spiced Nuts

For my Chloe + Isabel party last week, I made some spiced nuts, and let me tell you something...  I don't want to toot my own horn, but I get a lot of compliments on my recipes.  My cupcakes get oohs and ahhhs, my pies have been referred to as "the best pie I've ever had" and my cookies and brownies are pretty darn good.  

But no recipe has ever garnered this much "Can I get your recipe" as these nuts did.  And they couldn't have been easier!  I think in total they took me 30 minutes... and I made about 6 cups of nuts, people.  

3 cups of nuts (I used Fisher's pecans, walnuts and almonds)
1 Egg White
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne 

I started by toasting the nuts.  You can skip this step, but it gives it a crunchier nut, and I love the way toasting nuts smell.  To toast them, just put them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Make sure to check them after 10 minutes, burnt nuts aren't any fun.  

Whip the egg white until it starts to foam and then add the sugar slowly.  Whip until stiff peaks form.

Fold in the cinnamon, allspice and cayenne, and then fold in the toasted nuts.

Lay the nuts back out on your GREASED cookie sheet, and bake for 5 minutes at 350.  Then, flip the nuts over and bake another 5 minutes.

Remove the nuts and put them on a rack to cool.  They will harden as they cool.

Put the nuts in a tupperware and shake, shake, shake!  Just enough to break the big clumps apart.  Serve, or store for a week in a cool, dry place.

Be careful, these are addicting!!

Don't forget about the big C+I sale!  25% off your order of $100 or more.  Just click here to check out the merch.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sparkle Cupcakes and a Chloe and Isabel Party

I had a fun Chloe + Isabel party last week, and I was dead set on decorating my cupcakes with a certain colorful sprinkle...

But I went to the store and they didn't have any! They had 16 different shapes and sizes, but none of the little colorful ball sprinkles I envisioned.

So right before I stomped off in a huff and threw a temper tantrum (sometimes I feel like it) I spotted the perfect alternative.  It wasn't even the perfect alternative, it's what I should have been looking for in the beginning had I known it existed! It was the princess of all sprinkles.  Silver and gold.

EEK! This stuff was amazing and pretty and tasty (just big sugar crystals) and everyone was blown away.  Someone in the elevator even commented on how pretty they were.  

And to make the final product, I just used a basic vanilla cupcake recipe, my usual buttercream-ish frosting (recipe below) and the sparkles.  I pipped a ball of frosting on each cupcake and then smashed them upside-down into a bowl of sprinkles.  They were the perfect touch to my jewelry party.

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 bag of Powdered Sugar
1 T Vanilla Bean Paste
3-4 T Cream

Whip together the butter and Crisco in a stand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar a little at a time (unless you want to wear it).  Add the vanilla bean paste and slowly add in the cream until it's slightly harder than the texture you want it.  And then whip it, whip it good.  Whip it for 2 minutes! Set the timer.  It should go from an off-white color to an almost bright white color.  It should be spreadable.  If it's still pretty thick, add some more cream and whip it a little more.  This is enough frosting for 3-dozen regular-sized cupcakes or a full 2-layer 9" cake.

The party I'm talking about was held at the amazing, shiny, new offices of Happy Medium.  Thanks to my friend Katie for letting me use the space.  It was perfect and fun.

If you're interested in having a party, just let me know! there are some amazing perks to being a host, including FREE JEWELRY!  And I'll bring a dozen cupcakes to your party!

I've noticed that some people run the other way when they hear me say I've started to sell jewelry like Tupperware parties... but I've always been a big fan of parties like this for the free stuff and the excuse to have my girlfriends over.  At this place in my life I find that to spend time with my girls, it has to be planned and structured, or else it gets overshadowed by something else.

The jewelry speaks for itself.  Hypo-allergenic and nickel free.  My boss actually said her ear had been bothering her in other earrings for weeks, and she wore some C+I earrings the other day, and they didn't hurt at all.  I think she wore them for two days in a row!  I can't blame her, I've been wearing the same few pieces for a week now... It's just my favorite stuff!

Last Friday they announced Friends and Family week, going on for another few days, if you're thinking of getting something on my site, GET IT NOW! 25% off orders of $100+! The code is SPRFF25.  Just check out my website HERE! Mother's day is just around the corner, but sometimes you just need to treat yourself to a little online shopping.  mwa haha.

Thanks to all my ladies (and my man) for coming to my party!  You know I love to show off my sweets and treats, so stay tuned for another few recipes this week from my C+I party.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fitness Friday: Workout Playlist

I seriously can't workout for a long period normal amount of time by myself unless I have some sort of a distraction.  I sometimes listen to NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me podcast... but it's only 45 minutes every week, which is not really the recommended amount of working out for a person my age.  Plus Arnold likes to listen to it, so I usually stock up on them for a long drive and we nerd out together. 

So I need a good playlist.  Something that keeps me going at a quick moderate tempo,  but also something I can picture myself singing to in some sort of pageant or talent show when no one expected me to be a good singer, but I open my mouth and start to sing and everyone is like, DANG ALISA! who knew?  Wait, don't you guys make up scenarios like that in your head?  And stories where you're kidnapped with your best friend and both of your crushes, who happen to be brothers and have a dog that the kidnappers are holding you ransom for because it's a really rare and expensive dog?  Okay then, guess that's just me and Danielle as 14 year-olds. 

Anyhoo, here's what I'm listening to right now, let me know what you jam to so I can update my workout playlist!
Just a regular guy getting his workout on
My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark - Fall Out Boy
Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke
The Way - Ariana Grande
Pool Mashup: Just the Way You Are - Pitch Perfect Soundtrack
Drunk in Love - Beyonce
Wings - Little Mix
Crazy in Love - Emeli Sande (Great Gatsby Soundtrack)
Don't Stop the Music - Pitch Perfect
Break it Up - Sean Paul
Gorilla - Bruno Mars
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Fergie, Q-Tip & Goon Rock (Great Gatsby)
Stereo Love - Edward Maya
Calabria 2007 (Club Mix) - Enur

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Earring Display Frame

I don't know about the rest of you gals, but I have so many pairs of fabulous earrings, I hardly have time to wear them all.  Now, I make time to wear a few pairs...

But others end up sitting in my jewelry case, hidden in a closet most days, barely seeing the light of day except for when I'm digging for the right piece for a big night.  Some of my best pieces get forgotten and I get in a rut of wearing the same few pieces every day. 

Playing around with a few ideas for my new Chloe + Isabel shop and I came up with a great way to display your jewelry whether you're a seller like me or just a jewelry connoisseur, and the whole thing only cost me $2.50 each. 

I got the frames at Micheal's for $2 each in these great colors!  I'm a little obsessed with the color scheme of hot pink, grey, brown, light pink and teal.  Maybe even put a mustard in there.  Trust me. 

 I had to cut out the plastic they had pretending it was glass... 

And then I made a felt circle the same size as the hole using the paper.  (See below)

Then I filled the frames with their felt and they were so adorable!  

And then I added some of my new jewelry... and was in love. These are going up all over my apartment.  

This idea will keep your cute jewelry front and center, and give guests something to admire while they're snooping.