All posts in Tasty Tips

Guacamole and Chips Made Fancy Pants

Fancy Guacamole and Chips

Entertaining this weekend? I wanted to give you a little nugget of food joy! A fancy pants way to display your guacamole and chips! Everyone loves this staple appetizer but, let’s face it, guacamole and chips is not the best looking dish. Until now!

Guacamole and Chips in Mini Margarita Cups

This guacamole and chips made fancy pants is super easy to prepare and will make a big splash at any gathering! All you need are plastic mini margarita glasses, your favorite guacamole recipe, and blue corn tortilla chips! You can easily find these cute mini margarita glasses at Party City for $8! Just place some corn chips in the back of the filled margarita glass and voila! You have an amazingly unique display for an otherwise boring guacamole and chips platter.

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Boozy Brunch at Pearl’s Liquor Bar

Champagne Brunch at Pearls Liquor Bar

Champagne Brunch at Pearls Liquor Bar

It’s about that time in the week when everyone is looking forward to what the weekend will bring! Well, look no further. This weekend, you must, must, must go to a boozy brunch at Pearl’s Liquor Bar. WOWza! You feel like you are royalty. Every table gets their own glam champagne tray, which comes with three different juices in antique bottles, a shabby chic Ball Jar of flowers, fresh cut strawberries, super trendy red paper straws and of course, a silver bucket of champagne. Honestly, this is the best boozy brunch presentation I have ever seen. The atmosphere is also amazingly magical with hanging flowers, a garden tree swing and open air rooftop. This place is perfect for brunch with the girls, birthday soiree’s and Sunday Funday’s. Next time you are looking for a fabtastically fun and unique boozy brunch spot, try Pearls! You won’t be disappointed!

 

Pearls Liquor Bar

8909 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

(310) 360-6800

Baby Shower Statement Pieces

This past weekend I attended one of my good friends’ baby shower and it was beyond perfection and bliss! It was so my style…at home, intimate soiree that looked like it had jumped out of the pages of pinterest. Homemade yogurt parfaits in mason jars, DIY flower headband station, chalk board decor and doilies galore! But of course, you also have to have some statement pieces as well…and that’s where I come in!

Every baby shower NEEDS a FABtastic cake. For this reason, I left it to the cake gods and experts at The Butter End Cakery. Not only do their cakes look beyond beautiful and cute and classy and woweeeee but they also taste amazing. Hard to find my friends. Style and substance!

The Butter End Cakery- Baby Shower Elephant Cake

The Butter End Cakery- Baby Shower Elephant Cake

I cannot rave more about this cake…not only is it super adorable but it is VEGAN and DELICIOUS! If you ever need to have a vegan cake please please choose their carrot option. So Wonderful!

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You also NEED to bring a gift to remember. So put on your DIY Diva gloves and grab your glue gun and go off the deep end!  The deep end of a Rubber Ducky Bubble Bath tub made out of diapers, that is. This is a great way to give the expecting parents some bath swag in a super unique way.

Rubber Ducky Tub Made Out of Diapers

Rubber Ducky Tub Made Out of Diapers

  • Simply start with a rectangular basket and wrap it with diapers.
  • Print out hot and cold nozzles to put on the end near your “faucet.”
  • Make your faucet by rolling the diapers and connecting with hot glue.
  • You can make water droplets out of blue foam and clear fishing wire!
  • Cotton balls make great bubbles.
  • Display your organic baby shampoo, bubble bath and ointment
  • Pepper with rubber duckies and other fun bath time toys

Homemade Strawberry Tart Recipe

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of  The Desk and The Stove

This homemade strawberry tart is one of my all-time favorite desserts – the fresh strawberries, vanilla pastry cream and lemon crust all work so well together, and, remind me of lazy Sundays spent at Nonna’s house near Rome. Serve this tasty treat with a glass of Prosecco for your summer get-togethers. A word to the wise: try to save a slice – it might just be even more delicious for breakfast!

 

Pasta Frolla…

½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbl sugar
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1 2/3 cup AP flour
 zest from ½ lemon
3/4  tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Topping…

2-3 cups strawberries, sliced
Lemon zest cut into strips
½ cup sugar
½ cup water

Pastry Cream…

2 1/8 cups milk
½ vanilla pod 
zest from ½ lemon
4 egg yolks
¼ cup, plus 2 tbl sugar
2 tbl AP flour
2 tbl corn starch
 

(YUMmazing!)

1-    In a large bowl, mix together the chilled butter into the flour with your hands, working quickly. Add the egg, egg yolk, sugar lemon zest, baking powder and salt and gather together. Quickly knead the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Let chill in the fridge for at least 45 min.

2-    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F and begin the pastry cream.

  1. Pour the milk into a pot and add the vanilla seeds and lemon zest. Bring it to boil; once reached, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 min.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they become pale yellow (the ribbon stage).  Add the flour and cornstarch to the sugar/egg yolk and whisk to combine.
  3. Add a bit of the milk/vanilla/lemon zest mixture to the eggs/sugar bowl to temper the eggs. Whisk to combine and then add the rest in stages.
  4. Return the entire mixture to a pot and cook over high heat until the cream begins to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the cream and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

3-    While the pastry cream is chilling, roll out the dough on a floured surface to ½ inch thickness and transfer to a buttered and floured tart pan with a removable bottom.  Trim excess dough and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake blind by covering the tart with a disc of parchment paper and weighing it down with dried beans – this will prevent it from swelling in the oven.

4-    Bake for 20-25 min until golden brown.  Let chill on a wire rack.

5-    Fill the cooled pastry shell with the cream and decorate the top with the sliced strawberries.

6-    Make a simple syrup for the topping by dissolving the sugar into the water with the lemon zest over medium heat.  Once you have a thick syrup, remove from the heat and remove the lemon zest.  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the syrup over the strawberries to create a glossy look.  Cover and refrigerate the tart for 30 min- 1 hr before serving.

 

Chocolate Tuxedo Cups

Need some YUMmazing “Tasty Tips” for  Thanksgiving? I know, I know it sooooo early but a girl can excited; can’t she? Its my favorite holiday!  I just love these chocolate tuxedo cups and think they are a FABtastic dessert option for your Thanksgiving meal. Everyone is always sooo full and these chocolate mousse filled cups are a perfect little sweet treat! They make such a wonderful presentation and are so easy to make. Your guests will be super impressed by your “cooking skills”! Love it! Its also cheaptastic! 

Kane Candy

Chocolate Mousse

Take a chocolate mousse boxed recipe of your liking and whip it up! This takes no more than five minutes! Easy-peasy! Put the mousse into a plastic bag and cut a whole in one end to make it into a makeshift pastry bag. This will give the mousse a nice presentation because you can create swirls with the mousse by using the “pastry bag.”

Then crumble some cookies over the mousse and put three “chocolate straws” in the side! Voila! You have a FABtastic dessert with an amazing presentation. I displayed them on a silver tray with pink napkins and a mercury glass vase of flowers. Makes for a very classy look which works so well with the chocolate tuxedo cups! You can order these chocolate tuxedo cups online from Kane or pick up/order from World Market!

St. Patrick’s Day Chic Shots

St.Patrick’s Day is NOT known for being a classy holiday, but a girl can try! These chic shots are super cute and will fancy up any St. Paddy’s Day party. The shot itself is an easy peasy recipe of 1/3 of melon liqueur and 2/3 vodka, with a splash of lemon juice. It makes for a light, refreshing and simple combination that goes down real smooth. Be careful not to have toooo many! Who am I kidding? Go for it! Serve in a mini martini glass to class it up and add the bow and a striped straw for some more pizzaz! Voila, you have super chic shots that are easy to make and fancy schmancy!

St. Patrick's Day Shots

St. Patrick’s Day Shots

Thirsty Thursday: Oscars Inspired Cocktails

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Helloooo Thirsty Thursday! It’s my favorite time of year. Oscar time that is. LA is a buzz with constant parties and mingling. It seems as though everyone gets into the Oscar spirit and what better way to gear up and enjoy the show than with some Oscars inspired cocktails. My friends at Belvedere Vodka have provided us with some pretty fancy schmansy recipes for the show. Now, you can entertain like the big wigs with these Oscars inspired cocktails even if your not on a Belvedere budget!  

Recipes:

 

Classic American Hustle

American Hustle Cocktail

American Hustle Cocktail

50 ml of Vodka

20 ml lemon juice

15 ml simple syrup

Dash egg white

 Combine all ingredients and dry shake to emulsify egg white. Add ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and discard.

 12 Years Of Belvedere

12 Years a Lush Cocktail

12 Years a Lush Cocktail

 50 ml of Vodka

25 ml orange juice

Top Fever Tree Lemonade

Build drink over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.

The Wall Street Dirty Martini

A Wolf of a Martini

A Very Dirty Martini

60 ml of Vodka

10 ml Dolin Dry

Splash of Olive Juice

Combine ingredients in mixing glass and stir over ice until very cold. Strain into two chilled martini glass and garnish with a single green olive.

Tasty Tip: Kale and White Bean Soup

White Bean and Kale Soup

White Bean and Kale Soup

It’s the perfect time of year for a homemade kale and white bean soup. The chilly nights call for you to cozy up and enjoy a hot bowl of soup. There is nothing better than a hearty AND healthy big ole bowl of kale and white bean goodness. My recipe takes the classic favorite a step further and adds savory BBQ turkey to the mix. The turkey creates a more complex flavor and allows the soup to be a full meal in itself. My secret ingredients are BBQ sauce and white wine! Try the recipe and see how the sweet BBQ and savory white wine pair perfectly for a soup to remember. 

Here’s How Ya Do it!

Ingredients:

1 Head of  chopped Kale

1 Can white beans

4 Chopped fresh garlic cloves

2 (32 oz) boxes of Swanson’s chicken broth with 33% less sodium

1 lb Lean ground turkey meat

1 Cup of chopped carrots

1 Chopped onion

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup BBQ sauce

3 tablespoons white wine

Garlic powder, salt and pepper

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Directions:

In a large soup pot saute your carrots, onions and garlic with olive oil until the veggies are soft. Then, add in your chopped kale and chicken broth. Bring this mixture to a boil and then once boiling lower to a simmer. At the same time brown your turkey meat and bbq sauce in a pan, sprinkling salt, pepper and garlic powder over the meat. Then, add the meat to the soup pot. Now, it’s time to add in your white beans. Take a can of white beans and saute them in a dash of olive oil, a sprinkle of garlic powder and 3 tablespoons of white wine. After they have soaked up the white wine flavor, place them in the soup and let the whole mixture simmer for 20 minutes. Voila, you have a YUMazing kale and white bean soup! Write to me and let me know what you think of the recipe. Enjoy!

Last Minute Golden Globes Inspired Cocktails

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It’s one of my favorite nights of the year! The fashion, the stars and the Cocktails. Yup, the Golden Globes are tonight and every good party needs some fun themed drinks to get everyone excited about the awards! Themed spirits are such an easy way to set the mood for a party so I wanted to give you some last minute Golden Globes inspired cocktails for all your entertaining. My friends at Belvedere Vodka sent over a few suggestions. Whether with Belvedere or not, these drinks taste just as good on a young, broke and fabulous budget! Enjoy the show and and throw one back for me!

Nebraska Crush

nebraskacrush 

40 ml Belvedere Vodka / PG

20 ml pink grapefruit juice

15 ml cinnamon syrup

Dash fresh lemon juice  

Combine all ingredients in a tin and shake with ice. Fine strain over crushed ice into a rocks glass and garnish a pink grapefruit wedge. 

Wall Street “Dirty” Martini

TheWallStreetMartini

60 ml Belvedere Vodka

10 ml Dolin Dry

Combine ingredients in mixing glass and stir over ice until very cold. Strain into two chilled martini glass and garnish with a single green olive.

Her Cosmo

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50 ml Belvedere Vodka / Mango Passion

15 ml Domaine de Canton

10 ml fresh lime juice

20 ml cranberry juice

Combine all ingredients in a tin and shake with ice. Fine strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with an orange twist.

Tasty Tip Tuesday: Lamb Bolognese

Lamb Bolognese Ingredients

Lamb Bolognese Ingredients

I am currently on the east coast where it is beyond freezing. Yes, literally below the freezing level. A brisk -5 to be exact! But, instead of crying about it, let’s get nice and warm with a big ole bowl of lamb bolognese. I love a good bolognese so my sister, Nikki, introduced me to one of her new favorite recipes using lamb instead of beef. I have to say I was a bit skeptical, asking if we should maybe do half lamb and half beef as lamb has such a strong taste. Nope, big sissy Nikki was right again! We made an all lamb bolognese and it was out of this world. Soooooo YUMazing and soooo easy to make. It’s also a great dish to freeze and have for a hectic week. Pair the sauce with some whole wheat linguini pasta. We are being healthy in the new year right? Voila, you have a wonderfully flavorful and simple winter dish for all your entertaining!

Lamb Bolognese

Lamb Bolognese

Here’s What Ya Do

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Cup of diced carrots

1 Cup of diced onions

3 Cloves of minced fresh garlic

2 Tablespoons of tomato paste

2 Tablespoons chopped rosemary

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Cup of red wine

2 Pounds of lean minced lamb

2 16 oz Cans of chopped tomatoes

Directions

Heat two tablespoons of olive in a large pot. Add onions and saute for five minutes. Add carrots and saute until soft. In the meantime, heat a skillet and brown the lamb meat. Add the red wine into the meat and let it simmer for 3 minutes on high heat. Add the garlic, tomato paste and meat to the large pot with your onions and carrots. Cook on medium high heat for five minutes stirring constantly. Add two cans of chopped tomatoes and your cinnamon sticks. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.

Thanks Nikki!

Tasty Tip: Pinnacle Cinnabon Vodka Cocktail

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Yup, you read it right! Pinnacle vodka has paired with cinnabon for a yummy new flavor just in time for the holidays. The Cinnabon flavored vodka is sort of weird slash sort of amazing! Everyone remembers their younger years spent at the mall eating Cinnabons and Auntie Aunts pretzels. Now, you can bring that joy back with this Cinnabon vodka cocktail! It will definitely be a conversation starter at all your holiday parties. The recipe is super simple and taste delicious! It tastes like an apple cinnamon pie! YUMO!

Cinnabon Vodka Cocktail

2 shots of Cinnabon Vodka (It’s the holidays..one shot will not be enough!)

2/3 Apple Juice

1/3  Soda Water

Garnish with a slice of apple and cinnamon stick

Peroni Beer Cocktails

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Beer Cocktails

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Beer Cocktails

Beer cocktails are all the rage and who better to make the best of the best but Peroni! Last night I went to a lovely little gathering celebrating the 50th anniversary of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, premium Italian beer, at Cecconi’s. I, of course, had a blast sipping fancy Peroni beer cocktails and immediately wanted to share this tasty tip with all my readers. Beer cocktails are a great party drink this holiday season because they are super fun and unique and the men in your life will love them. No more complaints of “girlie” cocktails! These recipes are also perfect for an upscale game day celebration. Time to make football a little more fun a flirty ladies! 

Guests

Peroni Beer Cocktails Recipes

Italiano

Equal parts Peroni, Prosecco and Orangina

1 Tablespoon of Aperol

Garnish with a fresh orange!

La Bionda in front/ Italiano in the back

La Bionda in front/ Italiano in the back

La Bionda

Peroni

1 shot of rum

1 Tablespoon of honey

1 Tablespoon of lime

Garnish with mint leaves!

Enjoy!

 

 

Acabar

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Talk about dining diva! You will feel like a moroccan princess while eating at Acabar!  You will also be completely transported to a world of cuisine, with the menu reflecting food from an array of the French colonies. I absolutely love the menu with dishes ranging from vietnamese shrimp toast to lamb meatballs. Both which are a must get! Add to you order with the steamed buns, grilled octopus and whole crispy sea bass. The restaurant also has a full raw bar. I myself am not a fan but my boyfriend loved the oysters and suggests the guava paste for a sweet and salty taste!

Acabar is owned by the same restaurant group that has brought us Los Angeles favorites like The Little Door and the Little Next Door. You will definitely not be disappointed!

EaterLA

EaterLA

Wino’s rejoice! The wine list at Acabar has been carefully crafted to pair perfectly with every dish. Take my advice and ask the sommelier to suggest a couple great glasses of vino to go with what you have ordered! I did this when I went to Acabar and it brought a whole other dimension to the meal.

Now, for my favorite part! The decor. OMG! I have been to Morocco and this restaurant is more ornate than the buildings in the actual country! The walls are completely covered with intricate mosaics, while the ceiling is painted in the traditional Moroccan style with red and orange accents. The bar has an open air portion with a fire pit so guests can feel comfy and right at home. All of the doorways are arched and have carved detailing to reflect authentic Moroccan architecture. Acabar is truly a wonderland for the design and dining diva!

EaterLA

EaterLA

The restaurant also has a cool, comfortable vibe with live music and DJ’s six nights a week. Acabar is not a bumping club but a refined lounge where you are transported to the East. Check out their live music on Tuesdays and Sexy Bohemian night on Wednesdays!

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We can’t forget the drinks ladies! Here is a little teaser of their cocktail menu, organized by era! How Fun!

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To make reservations

 323 876 1400

Cherry Chinese Chicken

Cherry Chinese Chicken

Cherry Chinese Chicken

 I love when my friends share their cooking adventures with the Hostess Handbook and I love it even more when the recipes are for Chinese food! I go bananas over a great Chinese dish! This cherry chinese chicken is super easy to make and tastes YUMazing! Throw it over some shredded wheat cereal and lettuce for a healthy base!  Thanks to Maxim Rohowsky for a wonderful tasty tip that can be used for all your entertaining needs!

Cherry Chinese Chicken Recipe (6ppl)

750ML Cherry Flavored Lambic Beer

Chinese Five Spice to taste

8oz Hoisin Sauce

Vegetable Oil

Flour

Shredded Wheat

Iceberg Lettuce

8 Boneless chicken breasts

Directions

Reduce the cherry flavored Lambic beer in a small pot for 40 minutes. Then add chinese five spice to taste and 8 oz of Hoisin sauce. Cool for 2 minutes and then pour over your pre-fried chicken. For the fried chicken- make an at home deep fryer by taking a small pot and adding vegetable oil and heating it on the highest temp. Flour the chicken and dip it in until it reaches a golden brown crisp. Cut the chicken into chunks and pour your sauce over it. Lay the cherry chinese chicken on a bed of shredded wheat cereal and iceberg lettuce for an authentic presentation!

Spicy Pecan and Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

Tasty Tip- Spicy Pecan and Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

Tasty Tip- Spicy Pecan and Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

I cannot get enough of these delicious spicy pecan and cranberry brussels sprouts! This recipe is super easy to make and so on your budget! Three main ingredients and your done! This dish is a great side for any meal and the colors work perfectly for fall! You can serve these spicy pecan and cranberry brussels sprouts hot or cold. I prefer them to be hot but they are also great on a salad! You can get everything you need to make these spicy pecan and cranberry brussels sprouts at Trader Joes for under $10!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Recipe

(Serves 4)

1 Cup Trader Joe’s Spicy Pecans

1 Cup Dried Cranberries

1 Package Brussels Sprouts

Olive Oil

Garlic 

Onion Powder

Lemon

Salt, pepper

Cookin it up

Sautee the package of Brussels Sprouts with 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil and a clove of chopped garlic. When Brussels Sprouts are soft add in a teaspoon of onion powder, two teaspoons of lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Then, remove from the pan and add in the spicy pecans and cranberry’s. Easy-peasy! Voila!

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