Monday, April 30, 2012

A Little Piece of Heaven

Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting
As I have mentioned before I absolutely adore anything with bananas and chocolate. My little sister celebrated her prom this weekend and I decided these would be a perfect treat to devour before slipping into a fancy dress. I recently came across these banana cupcakes which are a delicious combination of a banana cake and bread. The moist cupcakes combined with absolutely heavenly Nutella frosting makes it a challenge to eat just one (I may or may not have eaten 4 in one sitting)!

Banana Cupcakes
·        2¾ cups all-purpose flour
·        1¼ teaspoons baking powder
·        1 teaspoon baking soda
·        ½ teaspoon salt
·        ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
·        ¼ cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
·        1¾ cups granulated sugar
·        2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·        2 eggs
·        1½ cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
·        ½ cup buttermilk

To Make the Banana Cupcakes:
1.      Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
2.      Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl and set aside.
3.      In a medium bowl beat the butter and shortening together with an electric mixer until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs, and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again and add the bananas. Beat until just combined. On low speed add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
4.      Using a spoon fill the cupcake liners until about three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
5.      Let cool for a few minutes before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes.
Makes about 24 cupcakes

To Make the Nutella Frosting:
  • 1 ½ sticks butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 jar of Nutella
  • 5-6 tablespoon milk

1.      In a bowl medium bowl mix the Nutella and butter until creamy, about 3 minutes.
2.      On low speed add the confectioners’ sugar, alternating with the milk and vanilla until combined.
3.      Brace yourself for some heavenly frosting!
4.      Yield: Enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes




Friday, April 27, 2012

Pasta Time

I rarely make pasta but recently I have been craving some sort of fresh garlic pasta dish and I just had to give in. From this came a semi pesto like sauce which left me full and happy.

Parmesan Garlic Pasta with Tomatoes
·        ½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
·        4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
·        3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
·        2 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
·        salt and pepper to taste
·        ¼ cup parsley, chopped
·        ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
·        2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
·        Angel Hair Pasta

Fresh Chesse..yum!
  1. Over medium heat add butter and garlic to a pot and sauté garlic until soft. Add the stock and simmer until liquid is reduced slightly.
  2. Add the parsley and basil and simmer for another minute. Add in the cooked pasta and the parmesan cheese.
  3. Stir until pasta is fully coated with the sauce. Garnish pasta with cherry tomatoes and enjoy!
Serves 2


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lilac Love

Lilac is one of those perfect spring colors and it gives these homes such a calming feel!

Images via Architectural Digest, House is Beautiful, Elle Decor

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Survival Skills

I have returned from Coachella in one piece, just barely. The festival was amazing but the heat was a force to be reckoned with! At 107 degrees, and nowhere to hide, it was a sweaty weekend to say the least. From techno to folk, the performances were amazing and the fashion was just as exciting (for me at least). Although clothing was definitely on the minimal side due to the extreme temperatures there were lots of flowy billowy pieces, flower power, fedoras, short shorts paired with ankle boots and of course crop tops galore! All in all it was an amazing trip. Here are some photos from my trip and some of my favorite acts and favorite performance attire!
Views from the campsite and beyond!

Photos via

See you next year Coachella!

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Potato Two Potato

Sweet Potato Chips with Rosemary Garlic Dipping Sauce
During my senior year of college I decide I wanted to have healthier eating habits and start cooking most of my meals. During this time I got pretty creative with certain foods and discovered a ton of new foods that I actually grew to love. Although sweet potatoes are nothing new it was the first time I really began to enjoy them. There is a lot you can do with them as they are the kind of food that can go both ways to make them a savory snack or a sweet treat. These chips are so easy and aside from the sweet potatoes, they don’t really require any ingredients. The simplicity of the recipe and the fact that they serve as a healthy snack option make these little chips quite appealing!
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, preferably sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in center.
2. Slice about 1/8 inch thick (I used a mandoline for this step).
3. Place sliced sweet potatoes in a bowl and coat with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and rosemary. Mix well.
4. Spread sweet potatoes on cookie sheets making sure not to over crowd them Divide sweet potatoes between 2 rimmed baking sheets.
5. Bake, flipping once, until centers are soft and edges are crisp, 22 to 25 minutes.

6. Heat oil until hot, about 375 degrees. (To check if the oil is hot my trick is to flick a drop of water into the oil, if it sizzles it’s ready. Or you can use a thermometer.)
7. Carefully toss potatoes in oil, making sure not to over crowd. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until just starting to brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle some extra salt, garlic powder and rosemary on top if you would like. Let cool.


8. Combine mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, and rosemary in a small bowl and mix well.
9. Dip chips in dipping sauce and enjoy!

If you want a healthier option leave sweet potatoes in the oven for an extra 5 minutes or until they are browned, but not burned.
There are a ton of different chip flavors you can try. Next time I'll try maple syrup and cinnamon!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Gone Camping

I am making my pilgrimage to the desert in Indio this weekend for Coachella! With temperatures predicted to be over 100 degrees all weekend I am just hoping I don’t melt!

Image via Pintrest

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dream A Little Dream

Although it’s only Thursday this has been a very long week. My busy work week combined with my growing excitement for this weekend’s adventures have left me itching for the week to end. I am not much of a camper so while I am lying in my tent this weekend I will certainly be daydreaming of something like this. These bedrooms look oh so dreamy and inviting.

Images via

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mama's Cesar Salad with The Best Croutons

You can’t go wrong with a good Cesar Salad. I think of myself as a bit of a Cesar salad connoisseur, if I see one on a menu I will most certainly order it. However they’re not always done right. Crisp, cold romaine, fresh parmesan and an egg yolk are the key to achieving the perfect Cesar. My mom definitely takes the cake with her recipe and it is one of my all-time favorites. Adding these crunchy, flavorful croutons put the finishing touch on a perfect salad.


·         Romaine lettuce


·         3 Tbsp Olive Oil

·         1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

·         1/2 Lemon juiced

·         1 large clove of garlic, smashed

·         1-2 dash of Worcestershire sauce

·         1 egg yolk

·         1/4 cup fresh parmesan


1.      Combine olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire and lemon juice into a small jar and shake rigorously. Add egg yolk and shake again. Once it is mixed (you’ll know this because it won’t separate) add in garlic and parmesan and shake again. Let dressing sit for at least half an hour.
2.      Remove garlic and pour over salad.

·         Baguette, sourdough roll, or any other kind of bread that is good crispy

·         2 Tbsp butter

·         1 Tbsp Olive Oil

·         2 cloves of garlic minced


1.      Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

2.      Slice bread into small chunks.

3.      Sautee garlic in butter and oil and add sliced bread to pan. Coat and cook for two minutes or until edges begin to brown.

4.      Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cook, flipping occasionally, until croutons are browned, about 5 minutes.

5.      Let cool and place on top of salad. Time to eat!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pile It On

A few details like piling on gold bracelets or stacking rings can transform your outfit. I generally wear a few pieces of jewelry but here are some fun ways to over accessorize a bit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Currently Craving

Black Salt Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Messy goodness

I recently gave in to my cravings while in the grocery store checkout isle and purchased a Vosges Black Salt Caramel chocolate bar that I had been eying. I had almost wolfed the whole thing down before I had even paid and decided to grab another for a little experiment. I had been craving some extra special chocolate chip cookies and thought that adding this chocolate bar into the mix might be what I was looking for. And oh was it ever, the mix of dark chocolate, caramel and salt was too delicious to describe.



  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 frozen Vosges Black Salt Caramel Chocolate Bar*
You can get these at Whole Foods or any gourmet grocery store. If you can’t find them substitute with your favorite chocolate bar.

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Remove chocolate bar from the freezer and set aside. Grease baking sheets.
3. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
4. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. 5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
6. Chop chocolate into small chunks, warning this gets a bit messy but just embrace the mess. Stir in the chunks and place a tablespoon of dough onto your greased cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Mine were a little big and melted into one another but they were still absolutely scrumptious!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Time

In my opinion there is nothing better than the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. When you combine those two ingredients with bananas it is heavenly. I love banana bread and this peanut butter chocolate chip version is my new favorite variation.   For an even more scrumptious treat add mini Reeses peanut butter cups in place of the chocolate chips, yummy!

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed or whizzed in food-processor
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy peanut butter is yummy too!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips tossed in 1 tablespoon flour  

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9X5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray; add a strip of parchment paper to bottom of pan for easy removal.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. 
  3. In another bowl or bowl of mixer, mix bananas, peanut butter, butter, egg, vanilla, and oil. Fold in flour mixture until no streaks of flour remain, then gently fold in chocolate chips. 
  4. Scrape batter into loaf pan. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes; carefully remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack before slicing.