August 19, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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DK Publishing filed a missing persons report on me this past month. Yep. I haven’t had a chance to review their books since my mom’s fall but guess what? I’M SO HAPPY TO BE BACK!!

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They sent me a darling little book called CUPCAKES & MINI CAKES. It’s so adorbs it kinda reminds me of a book Barbie would buy to bake stuff for Ken. Right?

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And just look at the cover! It’s pink (my fave) and striped. Best of all, it’s loaded with over 100 recipes for little cakes, bars and cake pops.

I flipped through it and even though I was dying to make one of their cupcakes recipes, I opted for a muffin one instead. Most likely because over the past  month I have been baking cupcakes by the double dozen for the staff on the D3 Wing in the hospital. If I walked in empty handed (without sweets) they actually gave me a “stink eye”. Oh how I loved the day when I helped my mom escape from that place!

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Since I have been a bit tight for time lately, I chose one of the simplest recipes I could find in the book so that I could finally do this review.

Apple Muffins.

But wait.

Do these look like apple muffins to you?

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No.

Why?

It’s like this.

I had all the ingredients EXCEPT the apples.   Hang on a sec…..I think you know me by now. I love to improvise SO I threw in strawberries instead. Oh, and I also added some shredded coconut to the mix because why not? My mom always taught me that a “little of this” and a “little of that” makes the perfect recipe.

Then I thought to myself. SELF? Why not throw in some bran into the mix too. Bran is healthy and besides, if I’m going to fool around with the recipe why not add in a little extra fibre?

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So here you have it. The base of this recipe is on page 62 of the book. The rest came from my head. And lately my head has been full of so many things it’s a miracle these actually came out great.

Did you also notice I had to add in a cool butter recipe for these muffins? Well, ya. I made that up in my head too. Blueberry infused butter is a much needed accompaniment to take the yumminess of these muffins to a level 10. Oh ya.

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I know you are going to love this little cute pink book. There are so many recipes I still need to try. I’m specifically eyeing the granola bars.  This book is super easy to follow, beautifully written, tried and true.

CUPCAKES & MINI CAKES will not disappoint.

STRAWBERRY COCONUT BRAN MUFFINS WITH BLUEBERRY INFUSED BUTTER
-1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and chopped into chunks
-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
-¼ cup turbinado sugar
-1¼ cups all purpose flour
-¾ cup whole wheat flour
-¼ cup bran
-4 tsp baking powder
-1 tbsp ground mixed spice
-½ tsp salt
-½ cup pecans, chopped
-¼ cup shredded coconut
-1 cup milk
-¼ cup oil, I used avocado
-1 egg, beaten
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups and set aside.
2) Place strawberries in a bowl, add the lemon juice and toss. Add ¼ cup of the sugar and set aside.
3) Sift the flours, baking powder, spice, and salt into the large bowl. Add in bran. Stir in remaining sugar, coconut and pecans, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
4) Beat together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla then add in the strawberries. Add the wet ingredients into the centre of the dry ingredients, and mix together lightly to make a lumpy batter. Try not to overmix, you want LUMPS.

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5) Spoon mixture into the prepared muffin cups about ¾ full. Optional to top each muffin with a slice of strawberry and an additional sprinkle of sugar and coconut. That’s what I did and they did turn out pretty darn stunning dontcha think?
6) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are nice and brown. Test with toothpick for doneness. Cool on wire rack, serve warm or cooled.

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BLUEBERRY INFUSED BUTTER
-1 stick softened butter
-¼ cup blueberry jam or preserves

1) Blend the softened butter well with the blueberry jam. Roll in plastic wrap and chill until firm.
2) Serve with muffins while they are still warm.
3) This is the only way to live. Not joking.

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See you next week!

debi, @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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July 21, 2016

DIY with LMP: Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones

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Calling all chocolate lovers! This week’s DIY with LMP is a sweet one. We’re showing you how to make the best summer treat in a few easy steps. Here’s what you’ll need:

sugar cones
semi-sweet chocolate chips
sprinkles, M&Ms, and other toppings of your choice
ice cream

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Step 1: Set out all your ingredients on plates and trays for easy access. Make sure your chocolate and toppings are on flat, wide trays. You will want everything to be within an arms reach one you get going.

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Step 2: Melt down your chocolate chips. Dip your first cone by rolling the top edge through the chocolate, and use a spatula to smooth it out as needed.

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Step 3: Choose a topping and roll your freshly dipped cone over it. Fill in the gaps by sprinkling the same topping over the exposed chocolate.

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Step 4: Set the cone back into the tray, and repeat with all cones using as many toppings as you’d like. Once the cones are finished, make space in your freezer to allow the chocolate to harden.

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Voila! Your cones are ready to be served with the ice cream of your choice. We chose Haagen Dazs, because it’s our favorite here at LMP (You can read all about why we love it, here!)

I gave Seri the first cone, because she was just dying to try it. Enjoy them before they melt!!!

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xx, Maggie
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July 8, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Okay guys. You know that I’m all about celebrating birthdays and other people’s holidays. Any reason to eat sweets is fine by me.

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I have so many friends and family members who live in the USA that it would be a crying shame not to have joined in on the 4th of July festivities. I know this post is going live after the fact but to be honest you can serve this tart any time of the year! It’s absolutely perfect for a warm summer night barbecue. I mean really? This is a “wowee” dessert.

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Not only is this delicious, I literally whipped this up in just a few minutes. A basic tart crust recipe, some whipped cream cheese with sugar and a toppling tower of berries. My kinda sweet treat.

Here’s what you’re thinking. Can I use any fruit or berry on this tart? Well, of course you can! Go wild.

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And it happens to be a classic old school recipe that I pulled out of my files from a Good Housekeeping Magazine circa 1979. I’m not joking here. I keep all my recipes in a binder with page protectors. LOVE THAT BINDER. Just love it.

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Excuse me while have my “piece of summer” and eat it too…..or three. Also, notice this “Care for Seconds?” coaster… It is so fabulous I could die.

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Double Berry Firecracker Tart

For the Crust
-½ cups all purpose flour
-⅛ teaspoon salt
-½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
-¼ cup granulated white sugar
-1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the Filling
-1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
-¼ cup sugar
-½ tsp. vanilla
-4 cups fresh berries or fruit

For the glaze
-¼ cup seedless strawberry preserves
-1 tablespoon water

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm or if you’re in a hurry like I always am, you can place in freezer for about 15 minutes. I use coconut or avocado oil non stick and an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Once the pastry has chilled, remove from fridge and evenly pat onto the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes and you can also use pie weights and parchment paper to weight down the crust). Place tart pan on a larger baking pan and bake crust for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until crust is dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Can be covered and stored for a few days.

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Make your filling by beating softened cream cheese with sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooled crust and top with berries or fruit. Chill for at least one hour.

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For the glaze, heat preserves in microwave with water for 30 seconds. Pour over fruit and chill again for another 15 minutes or longer. Serve cold.

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See ya next week!

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debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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July 6, 2016

4 Years Ago…

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It’s hard to believe that my baby is turning 4. I have pangs in my heart every time I think about him growing up. I love the sound of his high pitch squeaks and constant jokes. His blue steel eyes and his hugs and kisses. His little arms wrapped around my neck. I don’t ever want this to end. Thinking about it hurts.

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With all that said, my baby’s turning 4. So we be PARTYING!

It’s so awesome having a summer baby. Pool parties are the best! And this year, we made sure all Luke’s dreams came true. We started with a pirate theme, for his love of Jake and the never……the name is too long. You know who I’m talking about.

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I did tell him I was going to have a guy dressed up like a pirate at the pool. I failed him there however many people did come dressed to our theme so they made up for it!

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Ok his other big dream…that he’s had for about a year now…is a water slide.  He keeps asking me if we can add one to our pool.  I continuously explain he’s welcome to add a slide when he gets a job and would like to pay for it himself.

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So for his birthday this year….we brought in a pretty amazing water slide that had a bouncey castle to boot. The kids were in heaven. As I’m sure you can imagine.

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For themed decor we love working with Minted. They make it so easy. The color palettes are always amazing, the designs are fantastic, and they ship super fast! Plus you always have the option to customize.

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When guests arrived I had a few items set on the table for instant gratification…
– crudités, chips, ranch dip and some homemade salsas
– Beverage dispenser of water and ice topped with a pirate hat (that I found at my local party store)

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Lunch was served by Seasons of Southampton. We copied our menu from last year’s pool party with lobsters, mussels, corn, potatoes, bbq chicken and watermelon. Let’s put it like this…no one left Luke’s party hungry.

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So what do the kids do at a pool party? Swim, obvi. I had a lifeguard on deck to man the kids. She’s one of a kind and gets right in there with the kids. But what else? I thought, let’s set out a craft! So I asked my girls at Imagination Lane if they could put together an eye patch making craft and boom, it was awesome. Every now and then a kid would end up at the shaded table and make one. They were adorable.

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Dessert is where we really got to shine for Luke this year. I think we pulled out all the stops by hiring Belinda from Carolena Cakes. I mean….c’mon! She nailed this cake and it was out of this world delicious.  We had barely any leftover.

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We tested out Mister Krisp to add a little skull to our table…

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And my two favorite Pinterest finds:

Pirate bananas. I loved these guys so much I kissed them. There was nothing to it. Tie a bandana around the banana’s head and give him a face with a black sharpie. Don’t forget the stubble!

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2. Treasure chest of gold sprayed Oreo cookies….I mean, DUDE! Look at these! How adorable?! Make a lot..these went FAST!

(Abby found the edible gold spray on Amazon here)

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Then there is the bar. I wanted nothing but simple this year. Water, water, water, wine, wine, wine and some beer. We put out Coke, Diet Coke and apple juice…and that was IT! How easy is that?

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The pool was bopping, beats bumping and kids were jumping. Luke’s party was a blast.

Happy 4th birthday to my baby. I love you.

xx, Seri
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July 1, 2016

Yay for Canada Day!

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Seri and I have officially moved out East for the summer with the boys, which means so much summer inspiration and different places to shoot.  In other words, this will be the summer of snapchatting, so be sure to stay tuned!

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In addition to this weekend being the 4th of July AND Luke’s 4th Birthday Party, today happens to be Canada Day! We knew that we had to make something in honor of Seri’s home country, and we have been talking about making our own snow cones for ages now.  Why not make them red?  Genius!!

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Snow cones are enjoyed by people of all ages, so we made an adult version and a kids version of these babies, both using homemade simple syrup.  Cherry Thyme Simple Syrup, to be exact.  Ya ready?

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Here’s what you need:

-1 cup white sugar
-1 cup water
-20 fresh cherries
-a few sprigs of thyme
-ice
-bottle of rosé wine
-blender
-snow cone cups

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Here’s what to do:

1) Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil.
2) Add 15 cherries and a few sprigs of thyme to mixture in pan and stir to combine.
3) Reduce heat to simmer.  Take spoon or mallet and muddle cherries.
4) Let simmer for 10 minutes, until all sugar is dissolved and mixture has thickened.

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5) Pour mixture through fine mesh strainer into a heat safe pitcher to strain out cherries and thyme.
6) Cover and refrigerate syrup until cool, about 30 minutes.
7) Meanwhile, take your blender and make about 6 cups of crushed ice.
8) Once simple syrup is cooled, take out of fridge and have ready to go next to you.
9) Use ice cream scoop to scoop crushed ice into each paper snow cone cup.  If you can’t get the cone to form a perfect dome, use your hands to melt the ice into a dome.

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10) Take pitcher with simple syrup and slowly pour onto the top of each snow cone.

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11) If you’d like to make an adult version, pour some rosé over the top of your cone in addition to the simple syrup.

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12) Garnish with a fresh cherry, and you’re done!

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Enjoy, and Happy Canada Day!

xx, Abby
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