March 20, 2017

Flower Power

Today is about using fresh flowers to make pretty crowns just in time for spring…which is TODAY! Happy Spring everyone.

We recently brought a new team member on board, the most fantastic intern, Natalie who has been a great asset to our team. Her greatest skill in the LMP Office: flower arranging. Could she fit in any better?

She lead a flower crown making workshop for us and we of course turned it into a party. What a fun way to spend a morning with friends, huh?! We served a simple breakfast with fresh pastries, croissants and a enormous sweet brioche that we found at our local bakery. Abby brewed a pot of coffee and of course we toasted with pink bubbly.

If you plan to host a flower crown making party, ask your friends to dress for the season and no doubt they will pull out some pretty fabulous pops of color…

Here’s how you can make these flowers crowns with a few materials (easily found on Amazon) and a lotta flowers (if you live in warm climate then check your backyard first!).

Supplies:
Floral Wire
Floral tape
Good scissors
Leafy florals (ie. Italian ruscus, babies breath, spray roses)

1. Take your floral wire and fit it around your head so that you know how long it needs to be.

2. Shape the floral wire into a circle and then twist the end in order to keep it in place at the length you need. (For added security, make the length even longer and wrap the extra around the crown to make it thicker).

3. Take your floral tape and begin wrapping it around the entire crown (Make sure you are gently pulling the tape as your wrap, so that the tape becomes sticky).

4. Begin making small bouquets with your flowers and greenery. Then wrap the ends with the floral tape.

5. Take a long piece of greenery and twist it around the crown, then secure with floral tape.

6. Add in the small bouquets and secure with floral tape, add or subtract to your liking.

7. Take some pictures and have fun!

Photos by Gillian Stippa

xx, Seri
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March 1, 2017

Erika’s Bookish Baby Shower

My best friend from college, Steph, and her mom were throwing a Baby Shower for Steph’s sister Erika.  Since this is Erika’s first child, they wanted the shower to be extra special, and they asked me to help with the decor to give it an LMP touch. The Sandberg’s are like family to me, so I jumped at the opportunity!

Steph and her mom had already thrown a smaller shower for Erika over the Holidays at their grandmothers house, and this shower was for the Dad’s side and also everyone from Erika’s hometown. At the first shower, they had done a book theme, and we were able to reuse some of the decor items from that, such as this adorable Golden Books banner and these BABY marquee letters.

Since Erika and her husband, John Paul, are not going to find out the sex of the baby before the birth, we kept the colors neutral – soft green, yellow, orange and white, with hints of metallic gold and silver.

I used the metallic confetti balloon with gold fringe from our Shower Party in a Box, and supplemented it with jumbo white and regular latex balloons on our chosen colors.

We kept the food simple with dishes that either Steph’s mom made, or the guests brought for a delicious lunch buffet.  We provided wine and beer, and a beautiful “Make Your Own Mimosa” Bar.  I set up champagne to chill in an ice bucket, with a carafe of OJ and cut up fruit in the pretty paper cups that come in our Shower in a Box.

For the gift station, I hung a “Welcome Baby Igoe” banner on the fireplace for people to put all of the gifts under, and we set up a gift opening station nearby for when Erika was ready to open everything.

Their mom had found a bunch of Erika’s blankets from when she was a baby, so we draped a nearby chair with a beautiful embroidered one for her to sit on when it was gift time!

For dessert, Erika and Steph are both gluten-free, so Steph had coordinated for the cake to be gluten-free, and for there to be a variety of gluten-free and regular cupcakes, which were color coded so the guests could choose their preference.  I topped the cake with a silver glitter “Oh Baby” cake topped from out favorite, All That Glitters Party Shoppe.

I topped the cupcakes with gold glitter animal cupcake toppers by Paper and Parties, and placed them in this super cool cupcake tree that Steph’s mom has!

Steph also made an incredible diaper cake for Erika out of a ton of clean diapers that she had rolled up, which acted as a perfect supplement to the dessert table.

Too add to the decor, I sprinkled silver confetti over the dessert table and bar, and placed fresh white flowers in bud vases around the room.

A few months before the shower, I had taken some maternity photos for Erika and John Paul in Central Park, which Erika had framed, so we placed those photos around the room, along with an ultra sound of the baby.

On the coffee table in the present opening area, Steph put out some baby shower games that she had printed, with markers for each guest to fill out as the shower went on.

In keeping with the book theme, Steph printed out pages from some of the most popular baby books, and we string them down white columns that are throughout the room.

Finally, we set up a favor station, which had soaps and “bookworms” – aka gummy worms, for guests to take home!

Thank you so much to the Sandberg & Igoe families for letting me be a part of this special day!

xx, Abby
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February 24, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Do you ever bring sweet treats to your doctor’s office when you go for a routine appointment? I DO!

The issue is….all of the front desk office staff know what I do part time and that is….bake….a lot.

Every few months, I bring a little something for this crew and to be honest, they WAIT FOR IT. I also time my appointment strategically after lunch. This way, it’s a great excuse to HAVE DESSERT on an otherwise mundane patient swamped afternoon.

When I baked this cake last week, I posted it on Instagram prior to me leaving the house. Within minutes I received a comment from one of my favourite receptionists at this office….”HOPEFULLY THAT IS THAT COMING TO US?

So here’s the thing. My baking usually causes a bit of a delay to my doctor’s schedule. How you ask?

Well, I walk in with the goods and it is quickly taken away to the “back room”. The waiting area is usually full at this point.

Where’s the doctor?

Eating cake.

Where is he now?

Eating another piece of cake.

Who is waiting to see him?

ME and about 5 other people.

My apologies to those who have to wait and wait and wait and wait because of ME and my sweets.

When I decided to make this, it was a last minute effort to use what I had hanging around the house. I quickly opened my pantry and found a bunch of ingredients that would come together to create a super moist and decadent dark velvet cake with a heavenly white chocolate ganache drizzle.

Bundt cakes happen to be my favourite to make simply because of the pan. It’s a one shot deal. Make your batter, plunk it in and bake. Then drizzle with just about anything because really? This is an idiot proof way to decorate a cake. No crumb coating or fondant needed. Just pure unadulterated CAKE.

And if you’re like me, I’m not really crazy about wasting time decorating and futzing around with cakes. Let me just unleash my bundt and be done with it.

One thing is for sure.

Sometimes it pays to sweeten the lives of those who take such good care of you.

Dark Velvet Bundt Cake With White Chocolate Ganache

– 1 1⁄4 cups vegetable oil
– ¾ cup buttermilk
– ¼ cup espresso or coffee, cooled
– 2 eggs
– 1 tablespoon red food coloring, (I use organic from Whole Foods)
– 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
– 1 1⁄2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– 1 3.5 oz package Hersheys Instant Chocolate Pudding
– White Chocolate Ganache Recipe for Drizzle – See below

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Grease and flour bundt pan.
3) In stand mixer combine oil, buttermilk, espresso (or coffee), eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
4) Mix at medium speed until well blended.
5) In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Gradually add to wet ingredients (slowly so they don’t explode in your face). Beat until smooth (about 2 minutes on medium high speed).
6) Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cake plate to finish cooling.
7) Prepare ganache recipe below and drizzle on cooled cake.

White Chocolate Ganache

– 1 cup chopped white chocolate – bar or chips is fine
– ¼ cup heavy cream

1) Place a medium size saucepan filled with 1 inch of water on the stove and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.
2) Place chocolate in a heat safe bowl that fits over the saucepan ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Melt the chocolate slowly over the water, stirring constantly.
3) In a separate small saucepan, heat heavy cream. DO NOT BOIL, otherwise it will scorch.
4) Add melted chocolate to heavy cream and stir to blend. It should look nice and glossy.
5) Let cool slightly and drizzle over cake.

See ya next week!
debi@simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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December 27, 2016

Bacon Bloody Mary

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I know I’ve been enjoying relaxing at my parents house and catching up on some much needed sleep. I am also in full prep mode for New Years Eve, since I’ll be hosting some friends in the city this weekend.

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In anticipation of the big partying days ahead and the fact that I will be entertaining some friends in from out of town, I thought it might be fun to perfect a brunch-friendly cocktail to nurse us back to health.  What better way to do so than with a Bloody Mary?! Seri helped me out and shot this beauty for me to have it ready for you guys in time!

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Here’s what you need:

-vodka
-tomato juice
-tabasco
-Worcestershire sauce
-prepared horseradish
-celery salt
-fresh ground black pepper
-salt
-bacon
-celery stalks
-lemons
-limes
-ice
-cocktail shaker

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Here’s what to do:

1) Start your bacon frying in a skillet.  Once fried to your desired crispiness,  stick onto a bamboo skewer and set aside for later use!

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2) Place mixture of celery salt, fresh ground black pepper and salt on a flat plate.  Take a lime wedge and wet the rim of your glasses. Place wetted rim in spice mixture on plate, coating the rim.

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3) Fill each newly rimmed glass with ice, about halfway. In cocktail shaker, add juice and rind of one lime wedge, one lemon wedge, 2 oz of vodka, 4 oz tomato juice, 2 tsp. horseradish, 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and one pinch each of celery salt, fresh ground black pepper and salt.
4) Also add ice to shaker, then cover and shake well, combining all ingredients.
5) Strain into each cocktail glass.  Should be enough for two bloodys, so mix again for more!

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6) Garnish each glass with a celery stalk, bacon, and a lemon or lime wedge.

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This beautiful, bacon-ey Bloody is the perfect hangover cure… and I will most certainly be serving it up to my friends on New Years Day after we party it up with the Ultimate New Years Eve Party in a Box. Today is the last day to order yours in time for your NYE Bash, so don’t miss out!

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Until next week… Happy New Year!

xx, Abby
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October 18, 2016

Cinnamon and Orange Infused Spiked Iced Tea

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Fall is in the air! I’ve been loving indulging in pumpkin-flavored everything and watching Hocus Pocus every night. I’ve also enjoyed coming up with some new, seasonal cocktail recipes for the coming cold months!

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One that Seri suggested to me is this delicious Orange and Cinnamon Infused Iced Tea, which can be enjoyed with or without the alcohol added. I of course added the alcohol to this recipe, but it is just as good without!

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Here’s what you need:
-orange-flavored vodka
-iced tea
-fresh oranges
-cinnamon sticks
-ice

Here’s what to do:
1) Combine 1/2 gallon of iced tea into a pitcher with ice and 1/2 cup of orange-flavored vodka.
2) Squeeze the juice of 1 orange into the pitcher and stir.  Add some fresh orange slices to pitcher without juicing them.
3) Add 4 cinnamon sticks to pitcher.
4) Cover pitcher and refrigerate for at least one hour.  When it is done refrigerating, uncover and add some more ice cubes. Serve, and enjoy!

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This iced tea is an awesome cocktail option to enjoy leading up to the fall holidays, expecially when you have been having flip-floppy weather, like we have in NYC.  It can be enjoyed in the cooler weather or the heat!

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What is your favorite fall cocktail? Let me know and I will make it!

See ya next week :)

xx, Abby
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