April 28, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

As we go into week 8 of our kitchen renovation, I am experiencing deep baking withdrawal. Although I have to admit, being ovenless has been an acceptable excuse for not cooking and baking.

I thought it would be relaxing and a well deserved break, but to be honest, it’s been hard…..like really hard.

So instead of banging out creations week after week, I’ve succumbed to pouring over pictures of wall colours, countertops, taps, lighting and other various kitchen paraphernalia that has landed me into more trouble than you want to know about with my husband (and the contractor).

Just when they thought it was safe ……….I come up with another “brilliant” idea”.

What was it this week?

A pot filler.

Yes.

A pot filler. You’ve seen them. They are stuck on the wall over the cooktop and conveniently dispense hot and cold water directly into your pot on the stove. GENIUS.

When we first started to design our kitchen, the contractor asked me if I wanted one. Then, two of my friends who are interior designers said, “you’re getting a pot filler, right?” Of course I said YES and my husband said NO.

Steve’s justification for his answer was as follows:

“What do you need it for? Can’t you just walk over to the sink and fill the pot? We only have pasta once a month, so it’s a big waste of money.”

Not to mention he would have to do extra plumbing work for this little kitchen thingy.

To which I answered, “BUT IT’S SO PRETTY!”

Then I stopped to think about the fact that I do have two sinks in the kitchen – one on the island and a main one just a few steps from the cooktop. So I eliminated the pot filler option from my mind UNTIL……..last night.

I’m going to blame Pinterest again, because if you key word search “Beautiful Kitchens”, the majority have these damn pot fillers sticking out of the wall.

As you know, Steve needed to change all the lighting in the house. Since he was already in a lousy mood from that task even though he admits he was W.R.O.N.G. , I figured it was an opportune time to ask for another item we clearly DO NOT NEED for the kitchen. Guess what?

HE SAID FINE JUST DO IT.

He said what?

I had to confirm his answer again, because I thought I heard him say something like “YOU WILL BE FINE WITHOUT IT.” But no, in his current state of exasperation, he said YES!

This brings me to today, and as I write this blog I’m thinking about how to rationalize having that thing on the wall. For instance, this recipe has nothing to do with a pot filler except for the fact that it is also really pretty. Oh and it’s easy. Oh oh…….and it’s a great side dish for pasta which means only one thing……….

I need the pot filler. Right Steve?

Black Sesame & Herb Double Cheese Twists

– 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
– 1 extra large egg
– 1 tablespoon water
– ½ cup shredded jalapeno jack cheese
– ½ cup shredded OKA cheese or Jarlsberg
– 1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs, I used thyme & parsley
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
– Freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is approximately 10 X 12-inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with both cheeses, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and the sesame seeds. With the rolling pin or your hands, lightly press the flavourings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Brush with additional egg wash.
3) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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April 25, 2017

Red Wine Berry Spritzer

Guess what guys… Tonight, at 7:30 pm, I’m hopping on a plane and heading to… Italy! Right?! As you guys saw, we had a jam-packed (and INCREDIBLE) weekend full of events at LMP, so this vacation is coming at a perfect time.  I can’t wait to spend a week relaxing, soaking up all those Italian sights, eating copious amounts of pizza, and drinking all of the wine.

This weeks cocktail is inspired by this trip and all of the red wine I will be drinking … the Red Wine Berry Spritzer.

Here’s what you need:

-your favorite red wine (we used a leftover bottle we had in the office)
-Italian sparkling water
-fresh berries (we used raspberries, strawberries and blueberries)
-fresh lime, cut into 1/4 wedges
-fresh mint
-ice

Here’s what to do:

1) Rinse all berries and chop up strawberries into 1/4 size pieces. Set aside for garnishing later on.
2) Add ice to each of your wine glasses, filling about halfway. Add in assortment of fresh berries.


3) Squeeze in some fresh lime juice, 1 wedge per glass.
4) Pour red wine on top of ice, lime juice & berries, filling your glass about 3/4 of the way. Let sit for a few minutes to allow berries to soak up some wine.


5) Top off each glass with Italian Sparkling Water. Garnish with fresh mint, and enjoy!

Natalie whipped up some caprese skewers with fresh basil, grape tomatoes and mozzarella, which was the perfect light snack and paired perfectly with this light and fresh cocktail. It certainly did the trick in getting us into the vacation spirit!

You can follow along with my trip on my Instagram, and I will be sharing photos and other details on the blog soon!

Ci vediamo la settimana prossima… Ciao!

xx, Abby
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April 24, 2017

DIY Pretzel Bar

We love pretzels of every shape and size, with every type of type, eaten on any day of the year. What better day to eat all out favorite pretzels than on National Pretzel Day?! We set up our own pretzel bar just for the occasion, and it’s super easy for you to do too.

Step 1: Set up your bar with the following ingredients:
-Your favorite type of pretzels. We chose soft baked, rods, and mini sticks.
-Hummus, cheese dip (we used this recipe), chocolate chips
-Add-ons, like veggies for the hummus, or sprinkles for the chocolate

Step 2: Start dipping! We dipped our chocolate pretzel rods first, so the chocolate had time to harden.

Step 3: Try every kind of pretzel. Because they’re all wonderful!

Happy National Pretzel Day!

xx, Maggie
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categories: DIY, Dip, LMP Holidays, Sweets, Holiday
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April 21, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Before I begin, I need to clarify something with all of you. Ready?

Is it a woman’s prerogative to change her mind OR is it NOT?

Now, don’t just jump up and scream YES before reading the rest of this story because that wouldn’t be fair to Steve.

As you know, our home is under renovation. It’s been exactly 6 weeks since D DAY (demo day). I have been running around to various places trying to pick out all the stuff we need to put this Simply Beautiful “kitchen puzzle” together. I will keep this brief because I want to save all the juicy details for my REAL RENOVATION blog which will be coming up soon if we ever finish this project.

So here’s the thing.

I’m wondering how I have still have a husband – because he literally wants to L.E.A.V.E.

Why?

Well….it’s like this.

I KEEP CHANGING MY MIND.

First it was the paint colour and my quest for the PERFECT grey (which I’m happy to say I FOUND – well sort of found….12 samples later, one wasted can of paint and a few hundred trips to Benjamin Moore, I had my GREY mixed and remixed 3 times to get it JUSSSSTTTT RIGHT).

Then it was the hardwood flooring which was ordered, cancelled, ordered, cancelled, ordered and finally installed.

Oh ya. The lighting. Don’t get me started. All I’m going to say is….last night I threatened to sell the house because of my sheer unadulterated hatred for the LED pot lights Steve installed.

YES. That’s right.

FOR SALE – AS IS– NEWLY RENOVATED, 4 BEDROOM, DOUBLE CAR GARAGE, SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING WITH HIDEOUS LIGHTING (OFFERS READILY ACCEPTED EVEN THOUGH I AM POSITIVE NO ONE IS GOING TO BUY A HOUSE WITH STADIUM LIGHTING)

The island.

I always wanted a kitchen island. This was supposed to be my dream work station, with tons of space for rolling dough, creating dishes, and storing all kinds of kitchen crap in and on top of. AH….MY OWN OASIS….I could not wait.

So.

It (the island) arrived.

AND…..

it was too small.

SO?

I told my husband that it needs to be bigger

(I said it really fast by the way….kinda like this…..

“Steve? Theislandneedstobelarger…I’mgoingoutnowBYE!”

That’s when I realized that there was a good chance he would ensure I wake up on a REMOTE deserted island yelling…WILSON….WILSON!!!!

To conclude there are two things you need to know today.

1) Steve is the best (let’s just refer to him as SAINT STEVE – Master of Patience once in a while or practically never
2) I made these brownies eons ago and saved them to post now because who can bake brownies with no oven? I was tempted to go out and buy an Easy Bake Oven. Only problem is, the last time I had one in the house all three of my children ended up with salmonella poisoning from our experiment of baking a cake with a LIGHT BULB.

Needless to say, I’m going stir crazy without the ability to cook, bake, photograph and do my usual shtick on here. We just have to wait for the rest of the puzzle to come together – unless I change MY MIND.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHUNK PRETZEL BROWNIES
– ½ cup unsalted butter
– 1 cup chopped good quality dark chocolate
– 1¼ cups granulated sugar
– 3 large eggs
– ½ tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
– ¾ cup all-purpose flour
– ½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
– 1 cup chunks of good quality chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, milk and/or white chocolate), divided
– 1 cup pretzels

1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9” x 9” brownie pan and line it with parchment paper so that it hangs over two of the sides. Dust the two other edges with cocoa powder. Set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and dark chocolate on medium, stirring every so often. When everything is melted, take the pan off the heat.
3) Add the granulated sugar and stir it in, then add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to stir well after each addition. Mix in the salt and vanilla.
4) Stir in the flour and cocoa powder. Next add three-quarters of the chunks of chocolate.
5) Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon or small offset spatula. Scatter the remaining chocolate chunks on top.
6) Bake the brownies for 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. For fudgier brownies, bake them for 30 minutes.
7) Cool completely at room temperature before cutting.
8) Top with pretzels if desired. Makes  24 bite size, 16 small squares or 8 giant size ones.

See you next week!

debi
@simplybeautifuleating
Simply Beautiful Eating

xx, Debi
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April 18, 2017

Derby Day Mint Julep Raspberry Iced Tea

We love ourselves a good Kentucky Derby Party! Flowers, horses, big hats, booze… yes please!

When our friends at Four Roses Bourbon sent us a few bottles of their Bourbon Whiskey to try, I decided to play around and come up with a Derby Day cocktail that was a bit more non-traditional… the Mint Julep Raspberry Iced Tea!

Here’s what you need:

-Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey
-freshly brewed raspberry iced tea (you can make your own or buy at the store)
-simple syrup
-fresh raspberries
-fresh lemons
-fresh mint
-ice

Here’s what to do:
1) In a pitcher, combine 5 oz. bourbon, 2 oz. simple syrup.  Take some fresh mint sprigs and rip into pitcher to release flavor.  Stir to combine all ingredients, and top with lemon slices.
2) Fill each cocktail glass about halfway with ice.  Pour pitcher mixture on top of ice to fill each glass.
3) Garnish with lemon slice, fresh raspberry and sprig of mint.
4) Add a straw for sipping, and enjoy!

I styled these beauties on our favorite gold bar cart, which we decorated with these adorable DIY Derby Balloons, which Maggie will be teaching you how to make on the blog tomorrow!

Happy Derby Day! I hope you enjoy.

Until next week…

Photos by Maggie Antalek

xx, Abby
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