My Summer 2017 Style Mood Board

My Summer 2017 Style Mood Board

Above:

Airy blouses + cropped jeans / Dresses in whites and baby blues / A relaxed white jumpsuit / Criss-cross tops / Floppy straw hat

Pared down, understated and effortless (and what takes about three minutes to figure out and put on) – that’s what I try to aim for every time I step into my closet. And when you’re a mom it’s even more imperative to figure out what to wear instinctively because your child will usually need about 30 minutes to put his coat, hat, socks and shoes on in order to step out of the house for a latte. Luckily Spring is officially here (even though there’s still remnants from our blizzard last week), Summer is just around the corner and articles of clothing will soon be minimized! So in the quest for seasonal wardrobe simplicity, I’ve rounded up some inspiring looks that will be making their way into my wardrobe at some point or another…some already have. I consider these staple items, especially when traveling.

ABOVE:

A Sézane cotton t-shirt tucked into vintage-cut Levi’s / A sleek tank / Virtually any blouse by Realisation Par / Weaved Market Tote / Sézane trainers 

Above:

A fitted black top and cropped 501’s / Anything navy + your go-to jeans / A light, slouchy jumper for windy days / Castañer espadrilles (always!) / Rouje dress

Above:

White eyelet tops + denim skirts / The Birkin Basket by Blooming Dreamer / An Emerson Fry red top / A Reformation dress / Realisation Par tops and dresses / American Apparel Double U bodysuit

A Homemade Hummus in Your Jammies Kind of Day

A Homemade Hummus in Your Jammies Kind of Day

For anyone who knows me well, I’m not so great at planning things way ahead of time and I’m currently working on being more organized. Being the mommy of an almost two year old, organization seems more of a requirement than anything else, especially if you want to avoid mini meltdowns (for both you and your strong-willed toddler). But when it comes to cooking and whipping up anything in the kitchen, I tend to go on the whim and make whatever I’m craving at the moment (and everyone else seems to go along with it). And for days when it’s too cold to step outside or an obnoxious blizzard is currently happening outside your apartment (I say “obnoxious” because Spring is in a few days and this is just silly now), I normally feel the urge to spend most of my time in the kitchen cooking up cozy soups, stews and warm cakes. On this particular day, I just had the unusual craving to eat hummus and lots of it (with warm pita wedges, of course). And although it’s easy to just go buy a huge tub at BJ’s or Costco (in a variety of flavors), I enjoy making my own and knowing exactly what’s going into it, as with all dishes. I love sliced beets, especially with a big dollop of goat cheese and I LOVE garlic. I rarely cook without garlic. I think it just makes everything taste so much better (however your breath and those around you may have to suffer a little sometimes). And I could practically live off of hummus and pita bread…which I pretty much did during college.

So before I start going into a longer rant about why I love beets, garlic, hummus and the history behind it…here’s two quick and simple recipes for you to enjoy! See below:

Snow day and cooking in your pajamas. There’s something quite “hygge” about that!

Oooh, that pretty color though!

Mmm, I could eat that roasted garlic head just by itself!

Beet Hummus

What you’ll need:

1 cup of cooked beets, peeled and diced

1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup tahini

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

What to do:

  1. Drain and transfer the fully cooked beets into a food processor or blender. Add all of the remaining ingredients.
  2. Process until smooth. Add the desired amount of salt and pepper to your liking, and allow the hummus to cool completely before serving.

Yep, that was super easy!

 

Roasted Garlic Hummus

What you’ll need:

1 head of garlic

Aluminum foil

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons of tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

Paprika, for garnish

 

What to do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Slice the top off the garlic head to expose the cloves.
  3. Place the garlic head in the center of a square piece of aluminum foil.
  4. Drizzle the top of the garlic with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Wrap the foil around the garlic and close it at the top. Place the wrapped garlic on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Set aside until lukewarm.
  6. Squeeze the bottom head of garlic to release the cloves (my favorite part!).
  7. Place the cloves and all remaining ingredients in a food processor
  8. Process until smooth, and adjust seasoning to your desired taste. Allow the hummus to cool before serving.
  9. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle the top with paprika.

*Use anything you wish to dip – carrots, celery, pita chips, fries (yup I love them with fries), etc.! For warm pita bread, slice the bread into wedges, wrap them in foil and pop them in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees F. You can do this while the hummus is cooling off. Serve them while warm.

Enjoy ’til the last dip!

EASY PEASY DIY EUCALYPTUS WREATH

EASY PEASY DIY EUCALYPTUS WREATH

There’s something special about a fresh bundle of eucalyptus that instantly lifts my mood. Whether rain or shine, one of my favorite Saturday morning routines is taking our little man out for a stroll, picking up a latte, browsing our local bookshop and of course, stopping by flowers. Eucalyptus is always part of my selections. And for some reason I find it a bit hard to part with them after they’ve had a good run. It’s almost as if they become apart of our household like little family members (I promise you I’m not creepy). So naturally, I try to come up with creative ways to include them in our home without looking like some bizarre hoarder with an obsession for dried up flowers. I’ll use twine and hang them upside down on our wooden peg racks, hang some over a vintage mirror or beside our framed pictures, or collect some into white antique pitchers. There’s some kind of calming effect about them. Obviously I can’t keep all the flowers I collect, but some just seem too special to throw away. And with this super easy project, I’ve found another lovely way to adorn our home with one of our favorites.

Behold this sweet and minimal DIY eucalyptus wreath! I think it took me about 15 minutes to get it to my desired look, with a little tweaks here and there.

What you’ll need:

(Theo’s learning to love and adore plants just as much as me. Bonus!)

Naturally the most amazing quality of eucalyptus is its fragrance…so minty fresh! The only downside is that it can dry up to a crisp very quickly.

Here’s a tip:  Do some preparation a little ahead of time before making your wreath. Condition them with plant food and water at least 24 hours in advance, and spray it regularly throughout the day with water. This way you’ll enjoy your new, fragrant wreath for weeks to come. 

What to do: 

  1. Lay the wooden hoop flat on a table
  2. Take the largest branch and gently angle it along the hoop in your desired position (I wanted mine to look somewhat asymmetrical)
  3. Use the wire to wrap around the branch to secure in place from end to end
  4. Continue layering around the wreath base until you get your desired effect, using the wire to secure in place (as I continued to layer mine, I left some ends to hang loosely and unwired, which created a laid back rustic effect)
  5. Use the jute twine to create a loop for easy hanging to your desired height

Find the perfect spot to hang and you’re done! A little pretty DIY magic. It even looks lovely hanging right on a window.

BLUEBERRY ZUCCHINI CAKE WITH LEMON BUTTERCREAM

BLUEBERRY ZUCCHINI CAKE WITH LEMON BUTTERCREAM

Hello lovely readers – you’ve just stumbled upon my very first post (whoohoo)! And what better way to launch a blog than with something entirely food-related and downright delicious. First off I would like to make one thing clear – I am not a “baker” by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m working on it! When it comes to embarking on new recipe ideas I get a little too excited and rush the process a bit in order to seek and taste the finished product. And with this recipe (and many others that particularly involve baking cakes), I’ve learned that slow and steady definitely wins the race. So to all of you awesome bakers out there, I commend you! It’s surely a wonderful and fascinating skill that is not easy to acquire.

Initially I envisioned a much “neater” presentation, but the ooey-gooey-ness that emerged from my first giddy attempt at a blueberry/zucchini infused cake…well, I can’t really complain. The little juicy bursts of warm berry goodness as you take your first bite combined with the tartness (and oh how I love anything tart) of the lemony buttercream frosting…it was pure delight! And the cake was moist…MOIST, I tell you! I cannot stress enough how surprised I was to have actually achieved a moist cake. This is rarely the case.

You can find the recipe below. Enjoy and indulge! And if you do try this out, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

What you’ll need:

For the cake

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (reserve about 1 cup for the garnish)

For the lemon buttercream

  • 1 cup softened butter, at room temperature for 2 hours is best
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

For the blueberry garnish

  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of corn starch 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans (greased and floured).
  2. Grate one large zucchini (or two small ones) and place in a clean cheesecloth or dish towel. Squeeze firmly until most of the liquid drains out. Ideally, you should have 2 total cups of shredded zucchini after it has been drained. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Then, fold in the zucchini.
  4. Slowly add in the flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool them about 20 minutes in pans, then remove them from pans and onto wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream

*  I learned through trial and error, but the key to smooth buttercream is a little patience and warm, loving care!

  1. Using a mixer, toss in the softened butter (For best results, I’d recommend keeping the butter in room temperature for about 2 hours).
  2. Beat the butter, under medium speed for 8 minutes, by itself until very light and creamy.
  3. While it’s beating, sift the confectioners sugar in a separate bowl (you want to create a light and airy effect to the sugar before incorporating into the butter).
  4. Using a tablespoon, begin adding the sugar to the mixer whilst it’s continuously beating under medium-high speed. Remember, slow and steady!
  5. Add a pinch of salt.
  6. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minutes or until creamy and well incorporated (using a spatula, you may have to push down any excess powdered sugar that collects around the sides of the bowl into the cream and continue to mix).

Now the best part of it all…prettifying your cake!

  1. Using a large cake dish with generous spacing along the borders, take your first cake layer (ensuring that it’s fully cooled) and begin spreading the buttercream along the top.
  2. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the rest of the buttercream along the top and around the sides of the cakes.
  3. Take your reserved cup of blueberries and pop them into the microwave for about 40 seconds. You want them warm, slightly gooey but NOT fully melted.
  4. Add the sugar and cornstarch into the blueberries and stir until it thickens.
  5. Pour them slowly onto the center of the cake. The gooey blueberries will run down along the sides of the cake, so I’d recommend a large enough cake dish or platter to give way for some blueberry pooling along the bottom edges. I didn’t do that so some escaped onto the table, nonetheless, still a lovely sight to be seen.
  6. Serve immediately and devour!

Alternatively, you can top the cake with simple fresh blueberries for a cleaner presentation. I’ll be trying that out on the next round! There will be a next round.