Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

sangria

Did you know that today is National Watermelon Day? Well, it is and the timing couldn’t be more perfect because this cool, healthy fruit is a summer staple. I’ve used it for several recipes this season, including a watermelon and feta salad, watermelon margaritas and watermelon ice cubes to go with homemade lemonade.

After making a batch of refreshing margaritas, I decided to use the rest of the flavorful fruit to make some thirst-quenching sangria. This simple recipe yields four to six servings and is perfect for a backyard barbecue. Summer and sangria definitely go together like peanut butter and jelly. Enjoy!

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Watermelon Margaritas

marg

Happy Margarita Monday! Rough start to your week? Nothing some watermelon margaritas can’t fix! These refreshing summer sippers will get the fiesta (or siesta) started in no time. To add the watermelon flavor to a classic margarita, I used the seasonal fruit to create a flavored simple syrup and the watermelon puree. It’s a fun twist and adds just enough flavor, but does not overpower the traditional drink. This recipe yields two drinks, but next time I might try to make a larger batch to serve in a pitcher at a backyard barbecue. Hope you enjoy this tasty treat to beat the heat.

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 Watermelon Margaritas

Ingredients

For the margarita:

  • 1/4 cup watermelon simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup fresh watermelon puree (made from 1/2 cup watermelon chunks)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 3 ounces tequila
  • margarita salt
  • lime wedge

For the watermelon simple syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh watermelon chunks

How to:

  1. To make the watermelon simple syrup, place sugar, water and watermelon chunks in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes. Once sugar is fully dissolved, strain through cheesecloth into a small bowl. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours.
  2. For the watermelon puree, add 1/2 cup of watermelon chunks to a blender and puree on high until smooth.
  3. To make the drink, combine ice, syrup, puree, lime juice and liquor in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled, ice-filled glass with salted rim. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Flavorful Friday Fiesta

fiesta

TGIF! What better way to start the weekend than with a flavorful fiesta – and watermelon margarita?! Last weekend we grilled up some of our favorite eats and meats to have a fun, festive dinner. The meal was an afterthought to the watermelon margaritas I was excited to try. I wanted the cuisine to complement the refreshing concoction, so we grilled some summer staples and added a Mexican twist.

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We grilled a seasoned skirt steak, which was then topped with an avocado salsa. For a side, I spiced up classic corn on the cob by seasoning it with chili powder and sprinkling it with cotija cheese. I had tasted this traditional Mexican street corn at a restaurant here in Vegas and decided to recreate the deliciousness. The buttery, flavorful corn made for a sensational side.

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Mexican Corn on the Cob

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese
  • 2 wedges of lime
  • 1 tsp. chili powder

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Grill corn until hot and lightly charred, 7 to 10 minutes. Use a basting brush to coat corn with melted butter and mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese, lime juice and chili powder.

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Skirt Steak with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

For the steak:

  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak or sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

For the salsa:

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all of the steak seasonings together and rub on the steaks about 1 hour before grilling, covering well and storing in refrigerator. Grill for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes, until steak reaches desired doneness.
  2. To make the salsa, mix the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve on top of the steak.

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National Hot Dog Day

hot dog 2 CollageI think it’s fitting that National Hot Dog Day falls in July. Whether they are enjoyed at the ball park or around a camp fire, these popular eats seem like the epitome of summer (in addition to ice cream and s’mores, of course). Even though hot dogs seem like a seasonal dish, when I was little they were a year-round staple. I remember Thanksgiving dinners as a kid when my mom would bring hot dogs for my sister and I because we were such picky eaters. I don’t know what happened because now I am very adventurous and enjoy trying new cuisines. Who would have thought that the kid chowing down on microwaved hot dogs would have tried (and liked!) calamari and carpaccio?!

Back then I stuck to ketchup (not even mustard!) as a classic condiment, but now these unique creations make my mouth water! I can’t wait to spice up our next backyard barbecue with these tasty treats.

hot dog 7{Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Hot Dog from Shared Appetite}

hot dog 5
{Corn Dog Mini Muffins from Damn Delicious}

hot dog 1{Tex Mex Hot Dogs from Country Cleaver}

hot dog 6
{BLT Hot Dogs with Caraway Remoulade from Food & Wine}

hot dog 2
{Sweet Pork & Tomatillo Ranch Hot Dogs from Creme de la Crumb}

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

ice cream CollageWith temperatures in the 100’s my favorite dessert to make right now is ice cream! We got an ice cream maker for Christmas and have been putting it to good use making delicious flavors such as chocolate Thin Mint and brown sugar bourbon. I’m always looking for new combinations to try, so with July being National Ice Cream Month and today being National Ice Cream Day, I thought it was fitting to share some recipes that I can’t wait to whip up! Calories don’t count on holidays, right? Looks like July is a free pass for these tasty treats!

ice cream 2

{Watermelon Ice Cream Cones)

ice cream 3

(Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream from The Novice Housewife}

ice cream 4

{Coffee Hazelnut Ice Cream from Top with Cinnamon}

ice cream 6

{Ice Cream Sandwich Cake from A Subtle Revelry}

ice cream 7

{Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwiches from Paper & Stitch}

 

Summer Packing Essentials

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Summer is the perfect time to take a weekend road trip and explore local and regional gems, whether it’s a great restaurant or a scenic hiking trail. Living in Las Vegas, we have numerous destinations within a five-hour driving radius. To the west we have San Diego for a beach retreat while up north we can explore the forested hiking trails in Zion National Park. We want to take advantage of this convenient location and experience as many unique places as possible.

Packing for a weekend trip can be challenging if you haven’t planned out every activity and restaurant. The best way to be prepared for any occasion is to bring versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down and can be mixed and matched. These are a few of my packing essentials for a weekend getaway:

  • White v-neck t-shirt. I love a basic tee because it can easily be dressed up or down, creating a simple, sophisticated look. Plus, chances are it will match all of the bottoms you packed.
  • Gray tank. This is another piece that is versatile and can be interchanged with the v-neck. Pair it with shorts and sandals for an easy ensemble.
  • Simple, black dress. There’s a reason why every woman should own a LBD – they are elegant and create an instant outfit. For day, pair it with your shades and throw your hair in a top knot; for night, add a statement necklace and let your hair down in beachy waves.
  • Floral skirt. This floral, asymmetrical skirt can be worn for both daytime excursions and a night out on the town. It’s trendy and easily paired with both tops.
  • Denim shorts. An obvious favorite because they are comfy, casual and neutral. For an unexpected look, dress up the distressed denim and a basic tee with a colorful statement necklace.
  • Neutral tote. Since you’ll be living out of a suitcase, it’s ideal to have  a large tote that carries all of your essentials (sunglasses, sunscreen, wallet, camera, etc.). A neutral-colored bag that matches the other pieces you packed will make it easy to grab and go.
  • Classic sandals. Flat sandals that are comfortable to walk in are a must. For maximum packing efficiency, it helps if they match your casual outfits, but also look dressy enough for a nice restaurant.
  • Aviators. These stylish shades make any outfit look effortlessly put together. They will also come in handy if you are doing some outdoor sightseeing.
  • Statement necklace. This is the easiest way to fancy up a basic tee or dress. Add the stand-out accessory to your basic ensemble and you have an entirely new outfit!
  • Straw fedora. No time to wash your hair before your next activity? A stylish straw hat and side braid can fix that!

 

Chocolate Thin Mint Ice Cream

thin mint

Shockingly, we still had a box of Thin Mints sitting in our kitchen cupboard. I don’t know how it has lasted since Girl Scout cookie season in March. I would like to credit it to my strong self-control (yeah right…), but most likely I have just been preoccupied with other sweets. We decided to put our ice cream maker to use once again and make this chocolate treat. With the cookies melted into the batter, the mint flavor can be tasted throughout the creamy dessert, not just from the crushed pieces. Chocolate and mint is the perfect combination for a post-dinner treat. I like to think it helps sooth the stomach… maybe not, but it is delicious :)

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Chocolate Thin Mint Ice Cream

Yields 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 box Thin Mints, divided
  • 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add cocoa powder and whisk until no lumps remain. Gradually add whole milk and heavy cream, whisking constantly. Finely chop 10 Thin Mints and stir into dairy mixture. Pour into saucepan.
  2. Heat dairy mixture on medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and reaches 180°F. Remove from heat and mix in chocolate chips, stirring until fully melted. Add salt to taste, then pour into a medium-sized bowl. Cover with cling wrap, pushing it all the way down so that it touches the surface of the ice cream base to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. When fully chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Roughly chop remaining Thin Mints. When only a few minutes remain, add chopped cookies. Transfer ice cream to air tight container and freeze for at least two hours before serving. Or serve immediately if you like it softer, similar to the consistency of a Blizzard. Enjoy!

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Açaí Bowl

acai

I have read a lot about açaí bowls in magazines and on Pinterest, so I finally tried one at a local cafe. It was cool, refreshing and (best of all) healthy! It didn’t look too hard to make at home, so I decided to give it a try. While looking at various recipes online, I came across Sambazon açaí smoothie packs. The frozen puree, which can be found at Whole Foods, makes for a tasty treat that can be made in minutes. The açaí mixture is blended like a smoothie and then topped with your favorite fruits and granola. The colorful concoction is a simple summer snack!

Below are some variations from fellow bloggers that I look forward to trying:

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Açaí Bowl

Ingredients

For the açaí mixture:

  • 2 ounces unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • Açaí Smoothie Pack

For the topping:

  • sliced banana
  • sliced kiwi
  • sliced strawberries
  • fresh blueberries
  • granola
  • sliced almonds
  • coconut chips
  • honey

Run frozen smoothie pack under hot water for 5 seconds. Add ingredients for the açaí mixture to blender and blend until smooth. Pour into bowl and sprinkle with desired toppings. Enjoy!

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Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

pancakes

Rise and shine! Continue your celebratory 4th of July weekend with some tart, yet sweet treats. These tasty pancakes are made with whole wheat flour and cornmeal, giving them a heartier texture. Sprinkle blueberries and raspberries on top to keep with the red, white and blue spirit!

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk and cornmeal together. Cut butter into four chunks, then add to mixture. Cover and microwave for about 15 seconds, until butter is melted. Stir to fully incorporate and then microwave for another minute, until slightly thickened around the edges. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat eggs and remaining 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Whisk into cornmeal mixture, then add to flour mixture and whisk until combined. Stir in poppy seeds, lemon zest and lemon juice. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Evenly coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low. Using a 1/4 cup scoop, pour batter into pan and cook until edges are set and bubbles begin to form on top, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is golden brown, about 1 more minute. Repeat with remaining batter and serve warm with syrup or fruit.

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Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream

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One of our favorite Christmas presents has been the ice cream maker that Rob’s parents gave us this year. Since it’s officially ice cream season, we finally decided to give it a try this week and made some vanilla ice cream with bites of Tagalongs, creating a peanut butter and chocolate flavor. It was good, but I wanted to try something more flavorful and unique.

After raving about our fun ice cream maker to my mom, she sent me a recipe that she saw for brown sugar bourbon ice cream with Theo chocolate from Floating Kitchen. It looked amazing, so we decided to give it a go.

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The bourbon is the focal flavor, but not overpowering, while the brown sugar makes it buttery and sweet. This recipe was softer and creamier than the first batch of ice cream we made, which I really enjoyed. It didn’t last long – between the two of us it only lasted five days. We will definitely make it again!

Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. bourbon
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Ice cream maker

Directions

  1. To make the ice cream base, combine the milk, heavy cream, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a low boil.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar in a separate bowl, until the egg yolks become pale yellow and slightly thickened.
  3. Temper the egg yolks by whisking about a 1/2 cup of the boiling milk mixture into the egg yolks. Then add tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the milk mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into medium-sized bowl. Cover with cling wrap, pushing it all the way down so that it touches the surface of the ice cream base to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  5. Once chilled, pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Add the bourbon and churn until the mixture is nearly frozen, about 20 minutes. Add chocolate and churn for additional 5 minutes, until evenly distributed.
  6. Serve and transfer remaining ice cream to a freezer-safe container to store in freezer. It makes 1 quart.

 

Tuesday Trends: 4th of July

It’s officially time for fireworks, sunshine and barbecues! The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays because it’s the epitome of summer complete with outdoor celebrations with friends and family, patriotic treats and red, white and blue fashion. Below are a few links that have inspired me to plan a fun, festive day!

4th cookies

{My 4th of July sugar cookie bars topped with red, white and blue}

4th cake

{American Flag Cake from FOOD52}

4th fashion

{4th of July fashion inspiration on Pinterest}

4th candles

{Patriotic Glitter Candles from A Pumpkin and a Princess}

4th decor

{Independence Day decor inspired by The Golden Sycamore}

 

Homemade Piña Coladas

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When it’s hotter than 100 degrees, all I want to eat is something cool and refreshing. I bought an entire pineapple the other day, but before cutting it up to snack on, Rob suggested that we use it for drinks instead. I didn’t disagree. To cool down by the pool this weekend we made our own piña coladas – complete with a pineapple cup (I used this tutorial to hollow out the pineapple). Just one sip made me feel like I was back on the beach in Cabo!

Piña Colada

Ingredients

  • Ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup rum
  • 1 8-ounce can coconut cream
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks.
Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, coconut milk and pineapple chunks. Puree until smooth. Serve in a pineapple cup. or glass garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry, if desired. Cheers!

 

Fish Tacos with Pomegranate Mango Salsa

taco

Happy Taco Tuesday! For a summer-inspired meal, these sweet and spicy tacos will hit the spot. The fresh flavors and vibrant colors create a delicious dish that pairs perfectly with a fruity margarita!

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I love topping tacos with fruit salsas, which make for a clean, refreshing dish. The sweet and citrusy flavors complement the savory fish while the chipotle crema adds some spice.

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Now let’s get this fiesta started with these tasty tacos!

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with Pomegranate Mango Salsa

Ingredients

For the fish:

  • 2 pounds fresh white firm-flesh fish fillets (I used cod), cut into bite-sized strips
  • Beer batter mix
  • 1 cup beer
  • oil for frying

For the salsa:

  • 1 mango
  • arils from half of a pomegranate
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Chipotle Crema

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce

To assemble tacos:

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • small flour tortillas

Directions

  1. For the salsa: Peel the mango and cut out pit. Dice and place into medium-sized bowl. Add the pomegranate arils, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. Toss until combined and season with salt and pepper. Set aside in refrigerator.
  2. For the Chipotle Crema: In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt, buttermilk, minced chipotle chile and tablespoon adobo sauce. Stir until combined, then cover and place in fridge.
  3. For the fish: Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Stir beer batter mix with 1 cup beer and whisk until smooth. Dip fish in batter and coat evenly, shaking off excess batter. Deep fry at 375F until golden brown.
  4. To assemble tacos: Place fried fish on tortilla. Top with salsa, then drizzle with chipotle crema. Sprinkle on avocado. Enjoy!!

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Get the Look: Lauren Conrad

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Lauren Conrad is my style icon and role model in life – I am inspired by everything she does, whether that’s starting her own clothing line or taking a beautiful Instagram photo. When it comes to fashion, she always looks chic and stylish. I recently saw this look in Darling Magazine and love how simple it is while also incorporating trendy elements, such as the asymmetrical skirt. It’s a great business casual outfit for summer. To get the look, start with a basic black tank top layered under a beige blazer. Pair with a white asymmetrical skirt or skort (yes, skorts are back!). I never would have thought about pairing the white and light beige hues, but it looks crisp and classy. Finish the look with some strappy black heels. When it comes to beauty, a berry-colored lip gloss will pop against the neutral tones of the ensemble. To complete the polished, yet casual look, pull hair back into a sleek ponytail.

 

H M print blazer
$43 – hm.com

H&M suede shoes
$68 – hm.com

Nyx lipstick
nastygal.com

Lemon Blueberry Cake

lemon cake

Lemonade is the ultimate summer flavor. Add some fresh blueberries and you’ve got a seasonal stand-out. Add cream cheese frosting and it’s unstoppable. Although I think most desserts need to have chocolate in them, my fiance prefers fruit-flavored sweets.This layered cake was a treat that we both enjoyed and it’s perfect for a 4th of July party! Your taste buds will be seeing fireworks as they burst with flavor.

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The recipe makes enough batter for a three-layered cake or a two-layered cake with some cupcakes. I decided to go the cupcake route to add some variety. Topped with creamy icing, the dense, moist cake makes for a refreshing summer treat.

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Lemon Blueberry Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (if you use frozen, do not thaw!)
  • 1 Tbsp. flour

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9″ cake pans with cooking spray and/or line muffin pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a standing mixer, beat the butter on high until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture and beat on low until incorporated. Add milk, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir lightly until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, toss blueberries with 1 Tbsp. of flour and gently fold into batter. Do not over mix, or the cake will be too dense.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake cake layers for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. If you chose to make cupcakes, bake those by themselves for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed for 3 minutes, until no lumps remain.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar while mixing on low speed until frosting thickens. Add cream, vanilla and salt and stir on low until combined, then increase speed to high and beat for 3 minutes.
  3. If frosting is too thick, add additional tablespoon of cream.

To assemble:

  1. If the cake layers did not come out with a level surface, use a serrated knife to trim the tops off until they are flat.
  2. Place 1 layer on your cake stand or plate. Evenly cover with frosting. Top it with the second layer, more frosting and then the third layer. Finish by frosting the top and the sides.
  3. Garnish with blueberries or lemon slices, if desired.

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Grilled Watermelon and Feta Salad

watermelon

Hello, June! How did you sneak up on us already? I may not be ready for the heat, but I am ready for the barbecues! This grilled watermelon and feta salad is a great addition to any summer cookout. The charred watermelon adds a unique, seasonal twist to the classic combo.

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I used the same ingredients to make two versions of the salad. The stacked salad is a fun, aesthetically-pleasing way to serve it at a backyard barbecue. For a traditional side, the tossed salad can be made in one bowl and easily transported to a party. The cool, refreshing dish is sure to be a hit.

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Grilled Watermelon and Feta Salad: Two Ways

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole feta cheese
  • 1/2 large watermelon, cut into slices 1″ thick
  • 1 avocado
  •  2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and paper to taste
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Place balsamic vinegar in a small sauecpan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened, about five minutes. Let cool.
  2. Lightly drizzle olive oil over watermelon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill quickly, about 30 seconds per side, until slightly charred.
  3. Toss arugula with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  4. For the stacked salad: Cut feta cheese length wise into four smaller squares. Cut watermelon slices into 8 squares that are the same size as the feta. Place one watermelon square on the plate and then top it with the feta square, another watermelon square and a slice of avocado. Sprinkle desired amount of arugula on top of watermelon stack and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.
  5. For the tossed salad: Place 1 cup of arugula on a plate. Cut cheese, watermelon and avocado into bite-sized squares, then add to arugula and toss. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.

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Boyfriend Shorts Two Ways

Boyfriend Shorts

Summer has arrived and so have the triple digits in Las Vegas. Boyfriend shorts are great for the heat because they are cool and loose, but also look stylish. The tomboy look can either be embraced with a casual ensemble or dressed up with feminine details.

For a low-maintenance look, I like to pair the distressed denim with a basic v-neck tee, which allows the shorts to stand out as the statement piece. The neutral gladiator sandals and tribal print tote add trendy touches while also keeping with the laid-back vibe. Top off the look with a straw fedora, messy side braid and classic Ray-Bans.

To balance out the “boyfriend” style, add feminine touches that will tame the trend. A simple white tank with eyelet details softens the edgy shorts. Heart-shaped sunglasses, a cognac cross-body bag and an elegant watch with rose gold accents enhance the girly, sophisticated look. Don’t forget some chic shoes! I love these pointed-toe D’orsay flats with the colorblocked heel cap and snake-print toe.

Featured picks:

  1. Ted Baker flats from Zappos.com ($93)
  2. Rag & Bone boyfriend shorts ($235)
  3. MARC BY MARC JACOBS watch from Bloomingdales (175)
  4. Metal heart shades from Nasty Gal ($22)
  5. Tribal tote from Sole Society ($60)
  6. Sandals from ModCloth ($30)

Spring Fashion Trend: D’Orsay Flats

flats 2 v2

Here comes the sun! With temperatures reaching 80 degrees in Vegas, it’s time to dive into spring fashion. D’Orsay flats are one of my favorite trends this season. These BC flats from Nordstrom add a fun pop of color to any outfit. They easily dress up distressed jeans and would compliment the popular boyfriend style since they add a sexy, feminine touch. I paired them with a simple, neutral-toned outfit so that they would be the focus of the ensemble. I’m also excited to wear them with my coral, Aztec-print skirt to create a fun, colorful look.

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S’more Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

cupcake 2

I always want some more cupcakes! And this classic campfire treat turned unique sweet is no exception. The Nutella frosting is just the icing on the cake… literally.

These s’more cupcakes take me back to summer and sitting around a bonfire at the beach, roasting marshmallows and laughing with friends. Although it’s already warming up in Vegas, hopefully these sweet treats will offer those of you still living in the snow a little taste of summer and sunshine!

S’more Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Ingredients

For the graham cracker crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon. sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • salt to taste
  • mini marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs to decorate

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. To make the graham cracker crust, combine crumbs, sugar and butter until evenly coated. Place a tablespoon of the mixture into each cupcake liner. Use a glass to press down on the crumbs, until a solid crust forms. Bake for 5 minutes, let cool before filling with cupcake batter.
  3. To make the cupcakes, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, canola oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. The batter will be thin. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Fill baking cups until 2/3 full and bake for 14-16 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.
  4. To make the frosting, beat butter in the bowl of a standing mixer on high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and continue to beat on medium speed. Add Nutella and cocoa powder, then beat on medium speed until combined. Add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and the vanilla extract. Add more heavy cream if it is too thick or add more powdered sugar if it is too thin. If frosting is too sweet, add a pinch of salt. Place frosting into pastry bag or Ziploc bag and use scissors to snip the corner. Pipe onto cupcakes, then sprinkle on graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows.