May 24, 2016

Vanilla Bourbon Milkshake with a Cherry on Top

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Are you ready for this?

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To me, there is NOTHING like a cold, creamy milkshake on a hot day during the summer. And what better way to enjoy a milkshake with a little bit of bourbon in it?

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Answer: there is none.  May 28th also happens to be National Burger Day, and burgers + milkshake = the most natural and American pairing since peanut butter and jelly.  So I whipped up this little boozy treat to help us all celebrate ‘MURICA.

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Here’s what you’ll need:
-bourbon
-vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
-milk
-fresh cherries
-ice cream scoop

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Here’s what to do:
1) Scoop out 3 scoops of your ice cream into your milkshake glass.
2) Measure out 1 oz of milk and 1.5 oz bourbon into the milkshake glass on top of the ice cream.

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3) Use a tall spoon or straw to stir and blend ice cream, bourbon and milk.
4) Take one of your fresh cherries and stick on top of garnish.

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That’s it, you’re done!

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I hope you enjoy this while barbecuing burgers on a beach with your friends and family. Relax and enjoy the lovely warm weather!

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See ya next week!

xx, Abby
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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 20, 2016

Ready, Set, Passover with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not a big fan of Passover foods and that’s mainly because matzah really does a number on me. It takes a few twists and turns to get me to fall in love with a recipe that incorporates this unleavened product. BUT……

This folks is one of them.

Well? Why not? A piece of cardboard covered in toffee, chocolate, dried fruit and nuts is going to sell me on eating matzah, that’s for darn sure. I know many of you who love matzah. I’m not sure why. I prefer the texture of the box as opposed to the matzah. Each year, I try to devise ways to hide it. I will crumble, crush, soak, fry, bake and man handle that freekin’ matzah until those 8 days have PASSED over.

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BUT LOOK…..just take a second glance and behold the beauty of this crunch below↓

It makes me almost want to say ……

I LOVE YOU MR. MATZAH MAN.

Almost.

This is one recipe that is tried and true. Back a few weeks ago, I made a very similar treat (with the same base of ingredients) for Easter. The only difference was there was no matzah in sight. The first layer was made with graham crackers and it was absolutely addictive.

This crunch, or crack as some call it, is the same. TOTALLY and UTTERLY insanely addictive. Once you break off one piece, the rest seems to make its way into your mouth until it’s ALL GONE.

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But how do you spell Matzah? Well, I just spelled it M.A. T.Z. A. H.

But on occasion I spell it M.A.T.Z.O.

Or even M.A.T.Z.O.H.

Or when there are lots of them around you use the plural matzot or matzos.

Anyway you spell it, it’s still the same cracker just like there are sixteen ways to spell H.A.N.U.K.K.A.H:

Hanukkah

Chanukah

Hanukah

Hannukah

Chanuka

Chanukkah

Hanukah

Channukah

Chanukka

Hanukka

Hannuka

Hannukkah

Channuka

Xanuka

Hannukka

Channukkah

Channukka

Chanuga

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So here’s the thing. If you are making this crunch/crack/whatever and bringing it to a home that is strictly kosher you will need to make it dairy free or what we refer to as PAREVE. What that means is this. NO BUTTER ALLOWED. I think you know what I’m going to say next.

Margarine is your only option for the non-dairy thing. I can’t even believe I’m saying the word M.A.R.G.A.R.I.N.E. because technically that tub of yellow plastic goop really isn’t a real food substance. It’s a chemical mixture of this and that.  Now, having said that, I’m sure if you are not opposed to using it to bake with, go right ahead. What I haven’t investigated yet is trying this recipe with a vegan butter substitute. Oh. And coconut oil isn’t going to work. It will give this crunch a completely different flavour and texture. Don’t even go there or you will end up with a greasy, soggy matzah mess.

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If anyone has time to experiment with other fat based options, please let me know if you have any success. In the meantime, I’m sticking with good ol’ butter.

You can get really creative with this matzah crunch. What I did last night was raid my pantry and came up with a bunch of nuts and dried fruit to sprinkle over this crunch. And you can make this with any type of chocolate (I prefer dark or semi-sweet).

Add other toppings, such as sprinkles and candies, to light up the kids lives (or yours if you like loads of sugar). Just keep in mind that if you are making this Kosher for Passover it needs to be rubber stamped with approval and you will be paying triple the price for ALL THE INGREDIENTS.  Such is life.

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Oops ! I almost forgot to tell you this. On Wednesday April 20 I will be taking over The Feed Feed’s Snapchat to bring all of you a live step by step tutorial on this sweet deliciousness. Don’t forget to follow along at THEFEEDFEED. See ya there!

FRUIT & NUT MATZAH CRUNCH
3 – 4 pieces of plain matzah
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks cut in chunks)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips, I used mini semi sweet and threw in about ¼ cup extra
Assorted dried fruit and nuts, I used sliced almonds, crushed pistachios, dried cranberries, dried apricots.
Optional – White chocolate drizzle – ¼ cup melting chocolates (microwave in small bowl for 30 second increments until melted, stir at 30 seconds and then stir at a minute.

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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Line a 11 x 17 baking sheet with foil and top with a piece of parchment paper.
2. Place matzah pieces on the sheet, using smaller pieces to fill in gaps.
3. Preheat oven to 350F.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat until boiling. Stir constantly until the mixture is bubbly and thickens. About 3 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t scorch.

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5. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.
6. Immediately, pour hot toffee mixture over the matzah. Place in oven for 15 minutes watching that it doesn’t burn. I checked it at 10 minutes and needed to turn the temperature down to 325F.

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7. Once the matzah is nice and bubbly remove from oven and pour the chocolate chips over. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then spread the melted chocolate with an offset spatula to cover right to the edges.
8. Sprinkle with desired toppings and let cool completely. Once cool, you can drizzle melted white or any flavour chocolate for a nice touch. Let it set in fridge for 30 minutes.
9. Once it’s hardened, break into pieces and serve or store in an airtight container for up to a week (that will never happen though)

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Happy Passover & see ya next week!

debi
Simply Beautiful Eating
@simplybeautifuleating

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xx, Debi
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April 18, 2016

The LMP in a Box Challenge Grand Prize Winner is…

Two weeks ago we asked our followers on Instagram to enter a contest to win a Little Miss Party in a Box. We chose three of the entries and sent them each a Let’s Go Outside! Party Box to host a party with and submit photos to us to then choose a grand prize winner based on style, creativity and originality.

We asked our nearest and dearest, Debi of Simply Beautiful Eating and Ilana of Mommy Shorts to be judges with us. We scored each category out of 10.

Before we announce the winner, let us show you what these gals did here…we were so impressed by how gorgeous these set ups were and how much effort each of these gals put forth. We are REALLY excited to share……

Contestant #1: Cameron Klepac @camklepac

“When I opened the box, I immediately was inspired by the little sparkly pineapple sticks and just knew coupled with my polka dot kettle, I had all that I needed for a fun birthday parTEA!”

Full Table

Food

Floral Detail

Place Setting

Popsicle Detail

Mini Salad Bowls

LMP Comments:

Pimp your popsicle? C’mon. That’s ADORABLE! Totally using that this summer. The strawberry salad in the ice cream cups? YES! So amazing. The teapot flowers? We LOVE! And how about the chairs…where did you get those? And that bench!? AH! Last but not least, that Kate Spade runner is out of this world. BRAVO. You did an incredible job!

Contestant #2:  Josie Bennett @josielynnbennett

“I chose to throw a bridal party brunch complete with waffles (because we just got a snazzy waffle maker that cooks them super fast) and mimosas (of course ;) ). The supplies you sent were so easy to work with and the colors were so easy to pick out because all of that was done for me! Seriously…I think my boyfriend could have done it! *he actually picked out the plate the waffle tower is on and was crazy proud of himself. 

I used two of the extra straws, some craft paper, string and letter stickers to create a “she said yes” cake topper for the little waffle cake. Which I loved, but my future bridesmaids and moms went crazy over the wire “place cards” I made for them. I also created some wire pineapples and used some of the paper confetti from the package to add a splash of pink to the table.  

The adorable sparkly pineapples can be seen throughout the spread. Everyone also got a little bottle of maple syrup with a sweet message/ and or question hidden underneath.

Then I made sparkle champagne bottles (which I saw on your blog!!) and set up a little mimosa making station, because well #drinks “

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LMP Comments:

First of all, look at how she used the crinkle paper that was in our box just as a filler. BRILLIANT! And how about her glittered champagne bottles? YES! Amazing!! We LOVE the clementines on the pineapple toothpicks, amazing!! The waffles are beyond stunning. I could never make waffles look so fantastic. And the use of the straws with the flags on top of the waffles? Get outta here. Last but not least, the jams with the hidden messages underneath? And the name cards?! Home run.

Contestant #3:  Alexa Rose Brown @lexarosedear

“First off, I planned this get together on a Monday. I thought ” Nah, I can handle a busy Monday. In fact, this will make it that much better!” Cue utter dissolution. Did my 45 minute meeting suddenly grow by an extra hour? Of course. Was my phone on silent while my friends called me wondering WHERE THE HECK I WAS? Yup. I’m just courteous like that. In any case, my lovely evening dinner became a sort of hustle and bustle to get food on the table, which is what made me appreciate LMP in a box to a whole. new. level. Talk about cute convenience. It’s enough that all I had to do was unwrap some plastic wrap and arrange a little, do some plating, and we were in business! Imagine if I was planning on running out to the store to pick up last minute napkins or silverware in-between my meeting and our meal? I would’ve been toast. Embarrassed, sad, toast.

Instead, I unwrapped like a maniac and apologized to my friends an unlimited amount of times (of course they were completely fine with it, they were just chatting in the beautiful Malibu sunshine).

So here are my very favorite things about the LMP in a box:

A) I didn’t have to run to the store, worry about forgetting something, OR worry about colors being cohesive! That’s 3 whole “worry” moments never encountered (thank you, Little Miss ‘Life-Saver’).

B) It’s pretty hard to mess up this kit. I mean, you could be the worst stylist in the world, throw everything still stacked in the middle of a table, and it’ll still look like you put in effort. I MEAN, WHAT?! Even if you ordered take out and served it on these plates you’d feel more elegant. Just so much winning with this.

C) It promotes a gathering of friends, my all time favorite thing. Once you order this set, there is no way you aren’t calling everyone you know, even if for an impromptu brunch because you can’t wait for the actual event (so you order another box). Cute table setting? Of course. But the stress and planning it elevates allows for so much more time to talk, laugh, and have no dishes left to worry about.

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LMP Comments: 

Ok Alexa, we are VERY jealous of your location. It’s GORGEOUS! I would kill to host a party in a setting like that! Alexa’s table is so rustic and inviting. Love the wrapped cutlery and delicious spread of food. LOVE the pickles and olives in the ice cream cups, the pineapples in the cheese. Oh…and just noticed you paired the rolled cutlery with the straws! That’s absolutely fabulous.

Now it’s time to announce the winner of this incredibly impressive contest. It was NOT easy to judge you guys. These girls ALL did an amazing job!

Each contestant was scored out of 10 on style, creativity and originality for a total score out of 30. The scores tallied by Debi, Ilana, Seri and Michelle and averaged out for a final score out of 120. Our winner scored 107.

Without further ado….our winner is Miss Cameron Klepac!! CONGRATULATIONS! We are thrilled for you. You won $100 Visa Gift Card.  We will email you when this is en route to you!

Congrats to EVERYONE who played along here and a huge round of applause for the great effort put forth by these fabulous ladies.

THANK YOU!  We love you guys…and thanks to the great enthusiasm we decided to run another contest like this again SOON!  Stay tuned.

xx, Seri
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April 15, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Let’s just get this out of the way. The last time I made macaroons they ALL attached in the oven. ALL OF THEM. I ended up with one large, flat, mess of coconut. I have no idea what happened and I’m not even going to try to figure it out. For the past few years, my niece has been crowned the “Macaroon Queen” and has made absolutely perfect round spheres to bring to our Passover dinner. She displays some on a tray and others she wraps as individual “goodie” bags for guests to take home. These perfect treats are laden with coconut, vanilla bean and dipped in chocolate. Totally divine.

I needed to try my hand at making these macaroons again, just to see if they would not meld into one giant coconut disaster again.

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So, I did some research, called my niece and then took advice from 2 of my favourite people on earth – Martha Stewart & Deb Perelman from smitten kitchen. Along with my niece’s secret ingredient, the guts of a vanilla bean, I was ready to tackle the elusive MACAROON.

Oh. And don’t confuse a macaroon with a macaron. Two totally different cookies. The confusion between these two sweet treats – macarons (pronounced mah-kah-ROHN) and macaroons (pronounced mah-kah-ROON) happens all the time. Is it just the difference between the spelling and pronunciation? Nope.

Macarons:

They are the most elegant sandwich cookie you will ever lay eyes on, a delicate meringue that comes in a variety of creative flavors with decadent fillings like high quality chocolate ganache, preserves and buttercream. I will be attending a macaron making workshop later this month at a local bakery – Le Dolci. Honestly? I can’t wait because there is no way on earth I would attempt these in my own kitchen unless I was under strict supervision.

Macaroons:

These babies are homemade, chewy, and coconutty. A delightfully sweet confection that is known for its’ golden crisp outside and chewy soft inside. You make them with egg whites, shredded coconut, and sugar. The recipe could not be simpler (except if you’re me and end up with a very large coconut pancake). They take about ten minutes to prepare and you don’t need a pastry course to achieve the beautiful end result. They are considered to be a “friendly” cookie and you can dip them in chocolate, and get creative with additional ingredients to make them your own signature style.

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That is exactly what I was after here.

I wanted a twist on the traditional recipe and threw in some fresh blackberries to punch up the colour as well as offset the sweetness of the coconut and sugar with a zazzle of tartness.

Once I made the coconut batter in my food processor, yes, food processor – a tip from smitten kitchen, who aptly refers to “reducing the cough-inducing shreds to a thick paste that bakes into a delicately textured cookie”. You know what? She’s right. I can’t even count how many times I have bitten into a macaroon and ended up with one shred stuck in my throat. TOTALLY BRILLIANT DEB PERELMAN……but then again, I have trusted you before and you’ve never failed me.

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Now. Why did I decide to use a trilogy of recipes for this cookie? Easy. Martha’s used a bit less sugar and a different oven temperature. My niece added in the vanilla bean instead of an extract. And finally, smitten kitchen used a berry in the mix, which to me was a concept of creating a macaroon that was off the charts.

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Here’s what the taste testers in my office had to say about these (and yes, I conducted a door to door interview with a fake microphone):

“These were the best macaroons I have ever tried”.

“I usually don’t like coconut, but these macaroons were quite tasty”.

“Moist delicious coconutty and oh my god”.

“A mouthful of happiness”.

Keep in mind that I work with over 18 women on my floor, and that was just a snippet of the comments I received on these macaroons.

And now, it’s time for true confessions. I made a huge dumbo mistake when I dipped them into the melted chocolate. Wanna know what? Here, I’ll tell ya.

Instead of placing the cookies on parchment paper, I put them on the cooling rack to drip off the excess chocolate. You know what happened next? Yes, that’s right. EVERY SINGLE STUPID MACAROON stuck to the cooling rack. It was a real DUH moment for me and once again I have no idea why I did this. If I would have placed them on the parchment to let the chocolate set up, I would have ended up with gloriously dunked cookies, but instead, I had to practically chisel them off the rack with a spatula. DOUBLE DUH.

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The bottom line? Make them. Even if you don’t love coconut, you will love these.

BLACKBERRY COCONUT & DARK CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

(inspired by Martha Stewart, Smitten Kitchen, Mandy & simply beautiful eating)

-14 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
-⅔ cup granulated sugar
-1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped out
-¼ tsp. flaked sea salt
-1¼ cups fresh blackberries, washed and dried well (do not use frozen)
-3 large egg whites
-6 oz. good quality chocolate, (I used 60% Ghirardelli), melted

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1) Preheat oven to 325F.
2) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3) In the bowl of a food processor, add the coconut and run processor for 1 minute. Add the sugar, and process for another minute. Add the vanilla bean seeds, salt, and egg whites and process for 1 minute.

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4) Add blackberries and pulse 15 times or until berries have broken down into very small chunks.

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5) Use a 1½ tbsp. cookie scoop and scoop mounds onto prepared baking sheet. You can put them close together because these cookies don’t spread much (which is a miracle in itself)

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6) Bake for 28-32 minutes or until tops start to become golden brown. Don’t overbake.
7) Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Then slide onto a cooling rack.
8) Line your baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper and set aside.
9) Once cookies are completely cool, at least 1 hour later, begin melting your chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave in 15 second increments. I have done both methods and to be honest, the stove top one can’t be beat.

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10) Dip cookie bottoms into chocolate and then set back on parchment paper. Repeat until all cookies are dipped. Using a spoon or a small sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut out, drizzle remaining chocolate over the cookies. Let sit until chocolate is completely set up.

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11) Store in an airtight container for up 1 week. Do not refrigerate.
12) If you want to freeze, don’t dip into chocolate. Freeze after they cool and then dip them after defrosting. Makes 25 -30 cookies

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See ya next week!

debi, @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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