April 29, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Over my years as a home cook and baker I have never been able to master two things:

1. An avocado rose

2. The elusive Macaron

I’m just going to forget about that rose…..BECAUSE the macaron is where it’s AT.

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Notice that I’m referring to this cookie as just a Macaron and not a French Macaron? That’s because there’s a difference between a French Macaron and an Italian Macaron. I learned to tell the two apart this past weekend at a Macaron Making Workshop at Le Dolci Bake Shop in downtown Toronto where we were invited to attend their 2 hour class.

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We couldn’t have been more excited. My Director of Sponsorships (Daniella Visconti) was even more pumped to try her hand at this delicate task because she is set on making a “macaron tower” for her upcoming bridal shower. A tower? I’m was just aiming for a few cookies that didn’t fall apart or look like BOOBS.

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When we arrived at Le Dolci (and found a stellar parking spot) we were greeted by two lovely ladies – Lindsey (the instructor and pastry chef extraordinaire) and Stephanie (who is the “I do everything” gal).

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We donned our aprons, which in my opinion were super cute. Thank you for hooking us up with these Kitchen Stuff Plus! Then we washed our hands in preparation for us getting all “Mac’d up” and settled into our seats. Other “macaron” students filed in one by one until the table was full.

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You can definitely tell that my partner is a school teacher. She sat with her pen poised, taking oodles of notes and actually paid attention to the instructor. Unlike me who used to talk in class when I was little, got in loads of trouble for yapping AND still haven’t changed since Grade 3.

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And then…..

It began.

The instructor/chef – Lindsey started the tutorial by explaining the difference between French and Italian Macaron recipes. What I absorbed out of that was …..we were not going to Paris but instead to Rome for these Macs. If you want to know the difference I found this blog that explains it perfectly – CLICK HERE

Here were the next steps in condensed form along with a pictorial:

THE WHIPPING

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THE RAIN (of sugar)

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THE BLOWING

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THE COLORING

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I THINK THERE WAS WHIPPING AGAIN ( I can’t remember because I was too busy snap chatting, shooting, eating my sample macaron and most likely TALKING)

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THE FOLDING

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THE PIPING

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THE SLAPPING (too violent to photograph so I’m going to jump to the next pic)

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THE BAKING (again no photo because this is what we did while they were in the oven – SMILING AND PRAYING

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THE COOLING

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THE LICKING – (ya, you heard me….this was the best part)

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THE FROSTING

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THE TOUCHING…..OF THE DISPLAYS? (Oh Daniella)

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THE GILDING (with gold by the way…..uh ya….like real gold)

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And finally….

THE PACKING

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When all was said and done, we each had a load of macs to take home with us AND the recipe for these delicate little beauties.

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The one thing I do remember the instructor saying was “you will try this recipe at least 3 times before you get the hang of it”.

3 TIMES???!!!!

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Oh and the weather needs to be good AND you can’t make macaron if you’re stressed. I’m convinced the perfect place for making these would be in Arizona at a Spa.

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But seriously? If you want to spend a wonderful, fun afternoon by yourself or with friends, head down to Le Dolci for this class or others that they offer (I want to do donuts next) or to purchase one of their beautiful custom baked products.

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Thank you so much for having us Le Dolci ! We loved the lesson and hope to try it at home soon.

RECIPE:

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Mine even survived the ride home!

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Want to watch the whole shebang on You Tube? Grab your macarons by the feet and let’s go!

debi, @simplybeautifuleating
www.simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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April 28, 2016

DIY with LMP: The Floral Ice Bucket

Hey partiers! I’m back with another fun trick that will be perfect to try out this spring, especially if you like serving chilled champagne to your guests. This ice bucket is something you can make right in your kitchen as long as you have 2 buckets, a freezer, and your favorite flowers.

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It’s no secret that everyone loves to decorate for a springtime party with bountiful bouquets. But it gets EXPENSIVE. So we decided not to let our best flowers go to waste once they started to wilt. Start by cutting your flowers down to just the heads, petals, and leaves. Separate them so you can make decisions about how you want to place them. Find 2 buckets of different sizes. One must have a smaller circumference, as it will act as the space holder. Keep in mind you will be freezing the buckets with water inside, so no glass!

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Create your first layer by laying down a mix of petals and flowers in the bottom of the larger bucket. Then pour in 1-2 inches of water and make sure the petals are evenly distributed around. Put the bucket in the freezer for a few hours, until the bottom is completely solid.

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Take out the bucket and place the empty, smaller bucket inside. Start to carefully put the flowers, leaves, and petals around the sides, making sure the empty bucket stays in the middle. Next, pour water into the bucket until you see it rise to the top and cover the flowers and petals. If you have big flowers like ours, it will be tight enough that it won’t move around much. If you don’t, just keep in mind that you might have to rearrange the flowers once they begin to float around. Place in the freezer over night.

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Once you remove the bucket from the freezer, run some warm water into the empty bucket until it loosens enough that you can remove it.

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Do the same for the outside, and slip off the outer bucket. It will be big and heavy and slippery, so be careful and stay over the sink!

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Next, find a platter that suits your taste and place your chilled bottle inside! Now you have a perfect centerpiece for your drink table that will match your spring vibes.

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Until next time!

xx, Maggie
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April 27, 2016

Iced Coffee Ice Cream Float

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With the warmer weather coming along, that means switching from hot coffee to iced! I love coffee in any form, but having it iced to cool down on a hot summers day might be my favorite.  Remember that time last year when I made homemade cold brew? It was glorious and one of my favorite things that I have made, ever.

I decided to up the ante this year and make an incredible Iced Coffee Ice Cream float for a sweet, energizing treat.

I was away in Ireland and Scotland last week, for an exhausting but all-around amazing 8-day vacation with two friends, so my girl Maggie hung around the LMP studio (ie. busted her butt and was a total rockstar) and helped with a bunch of awesome projects that we had going on! She also really helped me out by making and taking pics of this coffee float situation that I had dreamed up, and made it look absolutely STUNNING in the process.

From what Maggie told me, it was a very easy recipe to make, and was ridiculously delicious and oh-so-worth it.  Here are the details!

Here’s what you’ll need:

-iced coffee (you can make your own by following my recipe here)
-ice
-coffee ice cream
-optional toppings, including chocolate sauce, cocoa powder and sprinkles
-ice cream scoop
-straw

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Here’s what to do:

1) Make your iced coffee by either making regular coffee and letting it cool once brewed, or you can make your own batch of cold brew the night before!
2) Fill up your glass halfway with ice and pour coffee over ice until it just covers your ice.

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3) Add 2-3 scoops of your coffee ice cream on top of your ice and coffee.

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4) Drizzle/ sprinkle your chosen toppings on top of ice cream.  Add a straw and go to town!

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Look at how delicious that looks!! The bitterness of the coffee mixes perfectly with the sweetness of the ice cream for a refreshing treat.  I’m so excited that I have a new, fun way in which to consume coffee, just in time for the summer.

Thanks to Maggie for bringing this idea to life!

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Photos and execution of recipe by Maggie Antalek.

xx, Abby
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April 26, 2016

Gettin’ Cheeky with Ya

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The second the weather turns around and the air starts to warm up the first thing on my mind is to PARTY. Sunset cocktails, yes. Light seasonal bites, yes yes. The new Party line from Cheeky at Target, yes yes holy yes!

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When we found out that Cheeky launched a party line of paper plates, napkins and cutlery we emptied the shelves at our local Target and got to planning.

Each piece in the collection is brighter then the next with bold colors and soft white graphics. We thought…how about a WHITE party. ALL WHITE. The decor, the food, the dress code….AND…Cheeky will be the STAR.

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That’s exactly how this all played out. We logged onto our favorite invitation website, Minted and used one of their brand new online designs to send our invite. With a click of a button all the work was done for us. RSVP tracking, reminders and a final tally. We were ready to party!

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We set the table with modern white vases and fresh white flowers found in the farmer’s market that morning. We thought it would be pretty chic to add a couple of jumbo white balloons which always scream PARTY.

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We devised a menu of all white foods including a white vegetable crudités with a blue cheese dip, celery root soup topped with creme fraiche, potato rounds topped with creme fraiche and scallions, an assortment of white cheese and crackers and last but not least, sweet white vanilla cupcakes. One item that we were not confident in making on our own were white summer rolls. So we asked our darling friend Chef Karen Ferries, the Cocktail Party Chef for some help…I think it’s save to say she nailed these. And boy they were delicious!

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Our guests arrived wearing white and each gal looked gorgeous then the next. We played a super fabulous playlist on our Spotify and poured white wine and processco throughout the night.

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The highlight of course…was when out came….

THE CHEEKY PARTY!

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Pink, Teal, Green and Red….how fab is this stuff?

There is no doubt Cheeky was the star of our show.

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Gavin even made an appearance at our party. He came over showered and wearing a white popped collar shirt, dressed to impress his best friend, Ali.

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The night was absolutely lovely with great friends, food and beautiful tableware.

Want to know the best part of this all?

Cheeky gives a meal for every pack you buy in partnership with Feeding America. Their products are very easy to find in (my favorite store as I’m sure you know if you follow LMP on Snapchat) TARGET, specifically in the party department.

Partying AND doing something amazing for the world? Sounds good to me.

Photos by Maggie Antalek.

xx, Seri
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April 25, 2016

The Everyday Soiree Party in a Box

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I love nothing more then inviting friends over for dinner, especially come summer time when the weather warms up. We pick up some chicken or fish, fire up the BBQ and enjoy with wine and good company under the stars.

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Sometimes I find myself scrambling to set the table. Everyone’s asking, what plates? Where are the forks, which glasses should we use….?

It’s kinda nice to say – oh, it’s all in our Little Miss Party in a Box: The Everyday Soiree!

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And how about clean up? We made it easy and found the most fantastic neon printed disposable plates (you could wash and reuse them too if you wish!) plus bamboo utensils that are biodegradable.

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Want to know the best part of this box?  We’ve included key entertaining essentials for you to hang onto forever. A white ceramic cake stand, shatterproof Govino wine glasses and a carafe that you can use for water, wine or flowers.

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Guess what else….?

We put a list of our favorite styling tips together for you and have included in your party box!

And last but not least, we’ve even got a crazy easy, super fun, totally delicious dessert DIY for you….Splatter paint a plain white cake in case you want to knock the sox off your guests with dessert! Here’s the how to.

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We’re really jazzed about all that’s been happening here at Little Miss Party lately.  We plan to keep you updated and in the loop from now on so please make sure you subscribe to our newsletter!  You can so on our blog where it says FOLLOW US // Little Miss Party in the Know.

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Also, we want to see YOUR work and how you host like LMP!  Please share with us using the #LMPinaBox hashtag and we will feature our favorites on our newsletters monthly.

So now what are you waiting for? Join the Party. Cheers!

xx, Seri
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