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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.

 

Unzipped Bag Bowl

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Fred and Friends unzipped bag bowl

 This past weekend, I stumbled upon this Fred and Friends unzipped bag bowl and think it is just too damn cute. What a perfect hostess gift for all your holiday parties! You could even pair it with some candy or salty treats for a more complete gift!

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This unzipped bag bowl is made out of blown glass and could also be a wonderful house warming gift! Of course, I am always thinking about design and envision these bowls as centerpieces with goldfish in them! Tooo cute!

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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!

Bud Vases with Dyed Peonies

Dyed Peonies

Dyed Peonies

I have a big obsession with dying flowers at the moment and I just love how a trio of bud vases look, soooo, I decided to show you all how-to create a wonderful display of bud vases with dyed peonies! I bought these cute spice holders at World Market for around $10 and have had them displayed in my kitchen for god knows how long. Well, as I was dying my peonies, I thought wouldn’t those storage jars make for cute bud vases? Voila! Always look for new ways to use what you already have! You will be surprised at how many household items make for awesome vases. Maybe empty spice jars or candle holders? Now, lets get into the nitty gritty of this DIY Diva project!

How-To: Dyed Peonies

Blue Dyed Peonies

Blue Dyed Peonies

You are going to be shocked at how easy it is to make these dyed peonies! Simply, cut the stem in half up the middle and put the two sides in blue food dye with a couple drops of water. The stems will begin to suck up the blue food dye and about three hours later you will have your finished product.

Food Dye

Food Dye

Prop the flower upright with tape! Sometimes, I prop the flower up next to my toaster oven. It’s off of course! I like to use little plastic cups for the food dye that you can get at Smart and Final for super cheap! Food dye you can get at any market! 

Bud Vases

Spice Jars

Spice Jars

Take your containers and put one full flower in each. I like to set up the display in a straight line and use only one dyed flower so it really pops! Voila! You have a Cuteastic display of bud vases with dyed peonies! 

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Send me your pictures

Are you a DIY Diva? Send me your pictures of unique bud vase flower displays for summer and be featured on The Hostess Handbook! Wahoooo!

Kitschy Gift Guide: Under $15

Reindeer Antler Sunglasses

Reindeer Antler Sunglasses

There are so many great gifts this holiday season and you don’t have to break the bank to get em! I am sure you have a lot of holiday parties to go to as well and these are perfect for secret santa presents. I personally want all of these but my favorites are the reindeer antler  sunglasses and the cheese and mouse knife set! This kitschy gift guide is too cute!

 Mouse and Cheese Knife Set- $14.50

Mouse and Cheese knife set

 

Reindeer Antler Glasses- $8.00

Reindeer Antler Sunglasses

Reindeer Antler Sunglasses

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Dinner Party Guest Book- $15

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Dinner Party Guest Book

Dinner Party Guest Book

 

London Calling Ornament Set-$11.24

London Ornaments

London Ornaments

Tablet Handbag- $14.99

Tablet Handbag

Tablet Handbag

 

 

 

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

DIY Diva: Holiday Doggie Flair

Bow Tie Dog Harness!

Bow Tie Dog Harness!

Everybody puts on their Sunday best around the holidays and your dogs should be no different. However, costumes can be very expensive soooo I created some holiday doggie flair for less! All you need to do is take a harness or collar and sew these cute wine bottle bows ties onto them. I found the bows at World Market on sale for less than $3! Wahooo. I like these bows because they are big and sturdy and can easily be washed. Pups always seem to get into something dirty! Now, I sewed the bows onto Olive’s collar but you could also take a strong fabric glue  if you really don’t want to get out a needle and thread! I love this project because its super easy, so on your budget and creates some cuteastic holiday doggie flair! Enjoy and please share your holiday doggie flair photos with us in the comment section below!

Party Items for Thanksgiving

Let’s face it, there’s a lot to do to get ready for the holiday, so here are a couple fun party items for Thanksgiving that you can create to make a CUTEastic atmosphere in noooo time! And on the cheap of course!

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1) Get super cute wine bottle bow ties and repurpose them as super cute napkin holders. Grab these at World Market for $3 in store and $9 online!

2) Garnish all your drinks with fresh cranberries. Sooo festive and you can throw them in any drink without them changing the flavor of your cocktail! Even throw them in some sparkling water! Too cute! Of course, finish it off with a fun paper straw.You can get both the paper straws and fresh cranberries at your local super market!

3) Have a little apothecary jar of orange rock candy. Super unique and brings you back to when you were a kid! Olive loves them! Also, a great candy bar decor item! Pick these babies up at any Party City!

Thanksgiving Dumplings

               Butternut Squash, Sage and Walnut Dumplings with Cranberry Soy Dipping Sauce

Butternut Squash, Sage and Walnut Dumplings with Cranberry Soy Dipping Sauce

These Thanksgiving dumplings look so good and professional that even my own sister thought I didn’t make them! However, I did whip these bad boys up and so can you! They are super easy to make and everyone will be so impressed by your culinary expertise! Your guests will be DIYing over these butternut squash, sage and walnut dumplings with a cranberry and soy dipping sauce. My mouth is watering already!

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I love these dumplings because they are so unique and they mold together two of my favorite things…Chinese food and Thanksgiving food. I give thanks for that! I just love serving one dish at the holidays that is kitschy and out of the ordinary. These Thanksgiving dumplings will certainly stand out! 

Butternut Squash, Sage and Walnut Dumplings

with Cranberry Soy Dipping Sauce

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Ingredients: Serving (5 pieces)

1 Tablespoon butter

1/2 Cup chopped raw butternut squash (small cubes)

1/3 cup of chopped walnuts

2 Chopped fresh large sage leaves

Pre-made round dumpling wraps (buy at any supermarket)

Dash of Nutmeg to taste

Salt to taste

vegetable oil

Butternut Squash, sage and walnut dumplings with cranberry soy dipping sauce

Butternut Squash, sage and walnut dumplings with cranberry soy dipping sauce

Directions:

Dumplings:

Saute the butternut squash, sage and walnuts in the butter until the squash is soft. Then, lay out your round dumpling wraps and put a small portion of the squash sage and walnut mixture in the middle. Dab a little water around the outer ring of the dumpling wrapper and then fold over into a half moon and seal the casing by pressing down with your fingers or a fork. I like to use a fork because the indents make the dumpling look more professional. Finally, put vegetable oil in a medium pan to fry the dumplings. There should be a thin layer of vegetable oil at the bottom of the pan. Make sure the oil is hot before dropping the dumplings inside. They will fry up extremely quickly, literally drop the dumplings in the pan to fry for only ten seconds on each side. Voila! Thanksgiving dumplings that are super to be a hit!

Dipping Sauce:

Mix 2 Tablespoons of chunky cranberry sauce (whichever kind you prefer) with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar to taste.

Thanksgiving Party Shoes

Introducing:

DIY or BUY

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Wahoo! For select items, I will be doing a DIY or BUY offer! This means that you can either follow my DIY instructions for these Thanksgiving party shoes or you can simply BUY them and I will ship the flats right to your door! 

To BUY:

Click Here -$50

Please fill out the form with what size, color and quantity you want. Be sure to include a shipping address. I will send you a paypal invoice to your email and voila! You can sport these super cute and kitschy Thanksgiving party shoes.

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Now to DIY

       Buy plain orange, red or grey flats from H&M. Then, get felt acorn and squirrel cut outs from World Market. Both items are only sold in the stores. Next, take Weldbond glue , which is an industrial style adhesive and glue the acorns and squirrels to the top of your flats. Let them dry for a good hour before wearing. Your done!  Easy peasy! Super fab Thanksgiving party shoes in no time!

Frenchieween

Dan Cuadra Photo

Dan Cuadra Photo

This weekend my boyfriend, Olive and I went to Frenchieween! What is this you may ask? Well, a French Bulldog Halloween Costume Parade of course! Yup, we are those dog owners who call themselves parents, dress their dog up and go to French Bulldog meet ups!

Corn Dog Costume

Corn Dog Costume

The best thing? We WON!!!!!! Yes, I could not be a prouder parent! Olive won Funniest costume in the Frenchieween competition. Let me to you, it was fierce out there. A lot of good contenders, but my baby brought home the cheddar. Is that a saying? You know what I mean! Well, I wanted to share this momentous occasion and give you some ideas for your own dog costumes! The Mad Hatter was genius! If I do say so myself, my corn dog costume is pretty clever as well!

The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter

Grape Dog Costume

Grape Dog Costume

Sunflower DIY Dog Costume

Sunflower DIY Dog Costume

Frenchie Butterfly Costume

Frenchie Butterfly Costume

 

 

 

Good Day LA Halloween

Halloween is almost here and of course I had to do another Spooktacular segment on Good Day LA! I just can’t get enough! Take a look and please please make my “Boiling Witches Brew.” It is my number one party tip for Halloween and everyone will go nuts! It’s to DIY for!

Watch the Video

DIY Candy Bar for Halloween

DIY Candy Bar for Halloween

Good Day LA Halloween Boiling Witches Brew

Boiling Witches Brew

Boiling Witches Brew

 

Good Day LA Spooky Tree for Halloween

Good Day LA Spooky Tree for Halloween

 

Rent The Runway Lifestyle

Light Bulb Wall Art!

Light Bulb Wall Art!

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. All the colors and cozy fabrics make you want to snuggle up at home. So your home better be FAB! Above is one of the Kitschy fall decor items that I wrote about on Rent the Runway lifestyle!

Click Here for Full Article

 

Decor for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Bud Vase for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Bud Vase for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Think Pink month so I wanted to show you how you can do some decor for Breast Cancer awareness! I found a fabulous pink mini bottle of champagne and decided to turn it into a cute bud vase in support of Breast Cancer. Nothing says celebrate like champagne!  You can use this decor item around the house or at fundraisers for something a bit unique! I love that this bud vase is super easy to make and you don’t need a lot of flowers for the arrangement. You can easily cut down on decor costs with this project.

The "O" is the Breast Cancer Ribbon

The “O” is the Breast Cancer Ribbon

All you do is DRINK the champagne, hard life ladies, and then write flowers with a sharpie and make the “o” a breast cancer ribbon! The ribbon is a small detail but it makes the bud vase very special. This DIY project is also a great gift for the women in your life who may have been affected by Breast Cancer. My aunt fought and won her battle over 5 years ago and I know she would appreciate a gift like this! To life, love and happiness! 

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!

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