SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, July 3, 2017

Shop Cooking in Pearls!!

I've been extremely MIA around here but it's not for nothing, I have an exciting update! I've been busy creating products the last several months that are officially for sale! I have been scouring the market for products like these and when I didn't find what I was looking for I decided to create my own. I'm so excited to hear your feedback and hope you'll love them as much as I do! These are great to gift for bridal showers, wedding gifts, even hostess gifts. I have plenty of additional items I'm working on and will keep you updated when new items hit the shop. You can start shopping in the "shop" tab on the top of the page.

Have a great 4th of July!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Buttermilk Substitute

If you're like me, you decide to bake on a whim and don't always have the ingredients on hand for the recipe you want to make. Cooking is forgiving and it's easy to make adjustments and swaps for whatever you have on hand but baking is a totally different story. I recently found myself with 3 ripe bananas and decided to make banana bread, which is a frequent occurrence around here! {Never throw those ripe nanners away!}

I had a new recipe I wanted to try and skimmed it only to find I had everything on hand except for buttermilk. To be honest with you, I rarely even have milk on hand because I always end up throwing away a full carton. I guess we aren't big milk drinkers but I always think it's something one should have on hand. Nevertheless, I needed buttermilk and the only thing I had on hand was Greek yogurt. I did a bit of research and apparently it's a perfectly acceptable swap for baking. Use equal parts Greek yogurt and water (whisk together until smooth) to create a very similar consistency to buttermilk. If you need 1 cup of buttermilk use 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup water to create your full cup.

The other alternative that I use often is milk and lemon juice. I use about half of a lemon and squeeze the juice right into the milk. Give it a stir and let it sit a few minutes. You'll see it separate and that's totally normal!

I love these types of swaps! Sometimes I don't want to buy an ingredient that I know I'll only need a small amount because it seems wasteful. If I do buy the ingredient I try to play "Chopped" and think of a way to repurpose it for other meals that week. Otherwise, I'll swap for something I will use or have on hand already.

Happy baking! :)




Saturday, July 2, 2016

S'mores Rice Krispies Treats

One of my favorite things about summer is being able to eat s'mores at every opportunity possible. It's like the calories don't count because it's just a necessary summer treat! Because I don't have a fireplace or outside fire pit I'm limited to the traditional roasting s'mores and love trying new ways of consuming them. A method I've been thoroughly enjoying lately is S'mores Rice Krispie treats. I've made them a few different ways and you can decide what you prefer. There really isn't a right or wrong way to make these and I'll be honest with you, I didn't exactly measure the good stuff, aka the s'more part. Just eyeball it...you'll pretty much want every inch of it covered with the chocolate and graham cracker goodness.


To make the Rice Krispies I followed the recipe (here) which made a delightful base. Actually...I may have added a whole stick of butter, not 5 tbl. It felt unnatural  to leave such a small amount behind! I like this recipe because there's little bits of marshmallow that melt and give that luscious pull when you bite into it. Holy moly.

S'mores Rice Krispies Treats

You'll Need:
1 stick butter
8 cups mini marshmallows, divided
1 tsp vanilla (optional!)
6 cups rice cereal
1/2 cup min chocolate chips
1 Hershey's chocolate bar
1 cup Golden Grahams cereal
8x8 baking dish
plastic wrap
nonstick spray

Follow your favorite recipe for rice krispies treats and add in mini marshmallows to the coated cereal mixture. Line your baking dish with the plastic wrap and give it a light mist of nonstick spray.

Pour half of the cereal mixture in the baking dish and reserve the rest in the pot, for a quick second. Work quickly because you want the mixture to still be warm! Press the mixture lightly into an even layer, don't compact it too much.

Add in the chocolate chips first and you'll see them melt almost immediately! Next break off the Hershey's squares and arrange them evenly around.

Taking the graham cereal in your hand, lightly crush them as you sprinkle them on top. Use as little or as much as you like. Eyeball it!

Pour the rest of the marshmallow cereal mixture over top and even it out, again, not pressing too much. Keep them light and airy.

Let the bars sit for a half hour or so (if you can wait) and pull the plastic wrap up and out to cut the bars easier.

I like the squares of Hershey because it's pretty much traditional but I also like to sprinkle on a layer of mini chocolate chips because they melt and ensure that every bite will be equally as chocolatey. 
You can also throw in different forms of chocolate in between such as peanut butter cups and let me tell you...it's a must try!

Goodness gracious.
I made these a few times with the s'mores part on top and tossing it in the broiler for a few second to toast the marshmallows. This way looks super cute and screams S'mores! I did find they were a little harder to eat.
These are what S'more dreams are made of!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gardener Goals

I've always had a fascination for gardening but don't possess the skills to keep plants alive. I watched my parents successfully grow tomatoes, jalapeños, bell peppers, and herbs in their garden and I've kept a wish list of produce I wanted to grow myself. Since I'm now an adult and have my own yard I figured I'd give it a whirl and plant my own garden this spring! I bought a raised bed since, let's be honest, kneeling in dirt and fighting off rodents doesn't sound too appealing. I bought mine from Williams Sonoma and so far am very pleased with it! I love the looks of these raised beds and it seems relatively straightforward. I dabbled in researching how to grow produce but ultimately relied on advice and common sense...we'll see how successful that turns out!

I started with seedlings in decomposable cups indoors, for about 9 week. We had a long stint of dark and gloomy days and I learned that my seedlings were "leggy" which meant they were getting taller to find sun but ultimately weren't strong enough. As soon as I saw the forecast in lows above 50 I took the plunge and planted my little seedlings in the raised bed. It may have been a little premature but truthfully, I was anxious to get my kitchen table back :) I'm growing cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, bell peppers, carrots, jalapeños, and a variety of fresh herbs. The herbs aren't looking too good at this moment but everything else is showing progress!

It's been so fun watching these little sprouts grow and I'm hopeful for a fruitful harvest later this summer! There's so much to learn and I'm excited to share the progress with you! Feel FREE to send me an email or reach out on social media for advice on anything you've learned about gardening! I could use the help.

Fingers crossed!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Chardonnay Day!

With National Chardonnay Day on the horizon (May 26th) I wanted to divulge my favorite way to sip.

Truthfully, I'm a Sauvignon Blanc devotee first and foremost. The few encounters I had with Chardonnay were very heavy and oaky and although not bad, it wasn't my first choice. I like the crisp lightness that other varietals lend. However, in recent months I find myself stepping out of my comfort zone and broadening my horizons. To others, that may mean trying a new workout or traveling to unique spots...but for me, it's changing the wine varietal for the week! Although I typically wouldn't open a bottle to taste and drink by myself, it's the perfect thing to open with friends over to sip, dissect, and discuss. What I've learned from these tastings is that Chardonnay is full of stereotypes and there are some light, non-oaky, crisp bottles out there! Before saying, "I don't like Chardonnay", give it a go. Try it and try it again. You may surprise yourself!

My first "ah ha!" moment of actually enjoying Chardonnay was at a wine tasting this past winter. Our friends host an annual party with a huge wine tasting that outdoes itself every year.
Not all bottles were shown in this picture ;)
Winner winner chicken dinner!!

Each year we try a different varietal and everyone brings a bottle. This year was Chardonnay...to be honest, I wasn't pumped about it. As luck would have it, the bottle I brought (thank you Line39!) won the blind taste test and I felt converted from that moment on. Since then, I've held two Chardonnay tastings at home and slowly but surely, am appreciating the grape more than I thought. Here's a few I've tried recently and recommend you try as well!




The key to a wine tasting is grabbing the same varietal from different regions. It's so interesting to learn how different climates (and TLC) can affect the same grape! They don't have to be expensive either. Grab a variety-whatever is in your price point and have fun with it. When doing a tasting with one varietal I actually don't like to pair food with it. I would have plain crackers or nuts around but keep them neutral. You can hide the bottles in bags or just leave them out exposed. Keep it casual and easy.

You can put out tasting sheets and make it competitive or if it's a small group just taste each one at the same time and converse about it. It's fun to hear how people interpret the flavors and how vastly our taste buds are from one another.

Pour a glass and email me your favorites. I'm excited to hear what you all enjoy and why!

Cheers!

{Some of the bottles shown were given to me as samples but the opinions on this post are my own.}

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Asparagus Arancini

Spring time is upon us, although it's been rather chilly in Chicago, spring blooms have me looking forward to warm weather and storing away my winter wardrobe (finally)! I don't know about you but warmer weather inspires me to entertain and cook things besides frozen pizza and ordering takeout!

A recent bottle of rose had me all sorts of excited and these asparagus arancini are the perfect bite to serve along side! I like the contrast that they provide. The arancini are crisp and salty, creamy and lightly citrusy on the inside. The rose is crisp, slightly sweet and perfectly acidic. This is an easy drinking wine that's slightly fruity (think strawberries and citrus) without being too sweet. It's delicate but complex and not overpowering which makes it the perfect accompaniment to these rich bites.
I made risotto the traditional way (with lemon and diced asparagus) and then poured it out onto a foil-lined baking sheet to chill in the fridge. Once cooled, I added a beaten egg, fresh parsley, and more parmesan cheese. I then rolled into 1" (or so) balls with a small scoop, and dredged in egg wash and panko bread crumbs. I rarely fry anything at home since it uses a ton of oil, it's unhealthy, and its messy! But hey, it's a new season and I need to step out of my comfort zone!
You can use any ingredients in your risotto, in fact, sun dried tomatoes, fresh peas, mushrooms, leaks, would all be delish! I also contemplated stuffing each ball with cheese but I wanted these to be a little on the slighter side...after all, I am frying these!
Back to the wine. I'm a sucker for anything pink! I've always been very girly and clearly have never grown out of it. I love crisp whites but there's something about a glass of pink wine that just makes me giddy! I've had multiple bottles of wine from Balletto Vineyards and honestly? There's no clear winner. They know how to make great wine!
Cheers to spring and the start of a new season :)

{The Balletto Rosé was given to me as a sample but the opinions on this post are my own.}

Monday, April 25, 2016

Taking in Spring

Sometimes I see something that stops me in my tracks and puts life into perspective. This weekend it happened to have been two things. As some of you know my husband and I bought our first house together last summer prior to getting married, which meant I was so preoccupied to enjoy the nuances of our new surroundings.

Since it's our first spring in this house I have loved walking the property(it's tiny!) on a nice night and weekends to observe what we've acquired. I've learned we have a beautiful magnolia tree, daffodils (small yellow ones and larger white and pale yellow ones), and about 7 tulips! Thinking they were weeds just 2 weeks ago I almost pulled them while weeding but luckily my mom stopped by and told me what they were, thanks mom!
It's crazy how quick these spring marvels stick around for and if you aren't looking, you'll miss them! My magnolia tree blossomed and the next 3 days were cold and windy-taking 90% of the flowers out. I'm really glad I spent that first night taking pictures and standing in awe because if I had waited, I wouldn't have seen this.

My tulips bloomed in a similar fashion. Sunday they were tight little buds leaving me giddy to see what color they were hiding and after a few days of rain they had completely opened! 
I was just thinking about the short lifespan of nature (odd coincidence that earth day was Friday) and went for a walk around my neighborhood to enjoy the spring blooms. I saw sidewalk chalk as I was walking and but didn't look down to see what it was. Fun that kids got out on Saturday to play! It took me a minute but I decided to turn around to see what the pictures were and I am truly thankful I did! This is what I saw. 
We are all so busy with our daily lives juggling work, family, kids, pets, friends, etc but if we don't slow down to enjoy life's little treasures, we'll miss it in a flash. To the person who wrote this in sidewalk chalk, thank you! This weekend was a wake up call for me and I hope you get out to enjoy the little things as well. 

Happy Spring!