Thursday, June 12, 2014

Plum and Pluot Galette from Imperfect & Fabulous


I have this good friend from college who is amazing at baking desserts, and this one was no exception.
I had a piece of this plum and pluot galette she made, and it was delicious! Not too heavy, and super simple to make, I found out, too!
This friend is Lauren over at Imperfect & Fabulous, and she was nice enough to share this recipe with all of us over at her blog!

Full Recipe here:  Plum & Pluot Galette

(I made this recipe using plums and nectarines instead of pluots, and it turned out great!)
The part I might have been most excited about was my newly discovered, most favorite pie crust ever!
Also shown here, in my Veggie Quiche.  Lauren's secret crust?  Refrigerated pie crust from Stater Bros! It is sooo good!!














Full Recipe here:  Plum & Pluot Galette

For more great recipes, helpful party DIY tutorials, and great fashion tips, follow Lauren on
Pinterest, Facebook, and Bloglovin!






Thursday, June 5, 2014

Zucchini Fritters



I'm all for transforming a vegetable.  So when I discovered these Zucchini Fritters, I knew I had to try them!
Zucchini is such a versatile veggie.  You can eat it raw, cooked, sliced, grated, you name it. It's been done. But it can also be a little boring, or overused.  This recipe totally transforms the flavor and texture into a whole new awesome-sauce treat!

A fritter is just anything fried in a batter.  We have seen corn fritters, apple fritters, and even crab cakes are a form of a fritter.
But today: the zucchini fritter.

These zucchini slices are salted to bring out a lot of the moisture, which makes them look a bit more like a pickle than a raw zucchini slice.
Then, they are coated in a mixture of egg, flour, milk and cheese, then pan fried until golden brown.
These can be served with a variety of dipping sauces, from ketchup (which I despise. I know...I know...), BBQ sauce, tzatziki yogurt sauce, ranch...anything!  
I used them in place of a cracker and dipped into cream cheese. Amazing!

These make a great snack, side dish, or my fave: the perfect addition to a brunch buffet!

Ingredients:


2 medium zucchini
1/2 Tbsp sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder (And any other spices you'd like, really)
a sprinkle of black pepper
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan


Recipe:
Adapted from: Wine and Glue: Zucchini Fritters

**Do this part ahead of time**
Thinly slice the zucchini, and layer into a dish, sprinkling salt over each layer as you go. (Don't drench them in salt, or the result will be way too salty! Lesson learned the hard way over here.  Just a light sprinkling - that 1/2 Tbsp is enough)


Photo shows too much salt.  Do as I say, not as I do ;)
Cover dish, and refrigerate, for a couple hours, to overnight.
Zucchini will release its water.


See? Ta da!
Then,
Squeeze out excess water from zucchini slices with your hands, one handful at a time, and set aside on paper towels.




See? They look like pickles!

In a medium bowl, whisk together slightly beaten eggs, milk, and flour, until batter forms.  Stir in garlic, pepper, and cheese. 





Prepare a frying pan over medium low heat and grease with a bit of olive oil, and spread evenly (I use a paper towel) over entire bottom of pan. (I am not deep frying, just pan frying, for a healthier option)
You want it well coated, but with no depth to it. Does that make sense? Just how you would saute peppers or mushrooms, or something.

Using your fingers, or tongs, dip each zucchini slice in the batter, coating well (I say, the more the better!), then set into the pan to fry.



Cook on both sides, flipping once, until golden brown.





Remove from pan, and set on layer of paper towels to blot off any excess oil. 
No need to salt here! To me, they already have enough of an 'internal' salty flavor from the first initial steps.









Cream cheese zucchini fritter sandwich for the win!

Enjoy!



Monday, June 2, 2014

Elevate.


Many photos by the lovely and talented  Chrissy at Let Me See You Sparkle



Some blog conferences and groups are all about the numbers.  Dollars earned.  Blog comments received.  Unique visitors. Tweets.
Sure, this stuff matters, and I actually took a ton of great notes and learned so many helpful tips for improving all of these things!!
But, the Elevate Blog Conference, put on by Summer & Jen, is so much more than all of that.




I had heard this was true, and this was the reason why I ventured in alone.  With only new instagram relationships, hope, and a little extra nerve thanks to my sister's encouragement in my back pocket.




From the moment I arrived I could feel it.  First of all, just from the smiling faces, decor, and beautiful Newport Beach Dunes location alone, I felt welcome, and happy, and excited.  Then, I began meeting other fellow women bloggers.  Bloggers, who, by the end of the one day, I now call great new friends.













The day not only brought some of the most amazing food and party favor swag I've ever had, but it brought such inspiration, light, and love into my life.
The ladies chosen to speak at Elevate were so inspirational, kind, hysterical, and helpful.  Both in blogging (and makeup tips!!), and in life.  Through the laughter and tears, I was touched by so many amazing people, and was so happy to have made the choice to attend this beautiful day!




Plus, did I mention the food?! And Magical Decor?!










The best part was how approachable everyone was.
Whether a "blogger celeb" chosen to speak at the conference, or a very well-known vendor in attendance with their great crafts and products in tow,  every single woman at Elevate was so, so approachable, relatable, helpful, friendly, and just all around lovely.
It was so special getting to hear such moving, hilarious, and helpful presentations, and then be able to hang out with those same amazing ladies the rest of the day as new friends and peers.
















I think everyone in attendance would agree with me, and felt the same, and it shows loud and clear through ALL of our instagram posts after the conference! So many friendships made and strengthened. So much fun and heart. So many memories!
I am hooked! I will definitely be back next year!




Friday, May 23, 2014

Berry-licious Memorial Day Weekend Cocktails!

Who's ready for more cocktails?!

Total Wine is back again to share a couple awesome, fresh strawberry cocktail recipes with us!
But keep the vodka and rum on the shelf.  We're branching out and trying a floral gin and a spiced and herbal Italian liqueur.  And pairing both with freshly muddled strawberries, along with a few other ingredients.



Ready?

Kick off the unofficial start of summer by raising your glass with these tasty, refreshing and easy to make drinks.  Strawberries' sweet, juicy taste make them ideal for warm weather cocktails!

Numero Uno!

G’Vine Gin is a unique, ultra-premium gin from France, crafted by EWG Spirits and Wine located in the French region of Cognac.  While most of the world’s gin is made from grain spirit, G’Vine Gin is crafted from grape spirit.
G’Vine Floraison is a modern-style gin generously infused with the vine flower as well as over 9 different botanicals. These botanicals include juniper berries, ginger root, licorice, cassia bark, green cardamom, coriander, cubeb berries, nutmeg and lime. These botanicals are macerated over a two to five day process to extract their pure essence and distilled in the neutral grape spirit.  The extended infusion of the vine flower produces a floral gin that brings intricacies to any cocktail it is used for. Smooth and well balanced in the mouth, G’Vine is a full-bodied and delicate gin, unlike any other.  With a 40% abv - 80 proof, G’Vine Floraison is smooth, vibrantly floral and warmly spice. 

Evidence:
I "don't like gin. It tastes like a pine tree"
I love this gin!  Especially in this fruity and fresh cocktail!
It's like a strawberry mojito, with this great gin instead of the rum.
Check it out!

The Garden Cocktail
(like a fresh strawberry gin mojito)
So refreshing!
Created by Award-Winning Mixologist Junior Merino of The Liquid Chef


Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces  G'Vine Floraison Gin
1 ounce White Grape Juice
1/2 ounce Agave Nectar
1 Lime, cut into wedges
2 Basil Leaves, torn
1 Strawberry, chopped roughly.

Instructions

In a Cocktail Shaker, muddle together Strawberry, Basil Leaves, Lime Wedges and Agave Nectar.
Fill with ice.
Add in G'Vine Gin and White Grape Juice.
Shake.
Strain into a Cocktail Glass.
Garnish with 1/2 a Strawberry and a Basil Sprig.








For more info on G'Vine Gin, follow them on Twitter!

Numero Dos!
Averna Amaro – Italian liqueur
Centuries ago, Benedictine friars in Sicily created a recipe for an herbal tonic that became known for its healing powers as well as its delicious taste. Today, Averna is Italy’s premier Amaro, and one of the most celebrated Amaros in the world. Richly textured and made from 100% natural ingredients, Averna is distilled from a secret blend of flowers, herbs, dried fruits, spices and licorice. These ingredients are immersed in alcohol with a touch of caramel, and the final result is unique: A complex spirit with a smooth yet firm taste to the palate and a full-bodied, bittersweet finish.




This second cocktail is a bit richer, but the orange soda and fruit cut the richness, and it is really delicious!
I love trying new liqueurs, and this one is especially good.

The Top Cat 
Created by Tad Carducci of the Famed Mixologist Duo The Tippling Bros.




Ingredients

2 ounces Averna Amaro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 strawberries, chopped roughly
4 ounces orange soda, chilled (I love the couple options at Trader Joe's! Think carbonated fresh juice, not "soda" )
Lemon slice to garnish

Instructions

Place the strawberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle well.
Add the Averna Amaro and lemon juice to the shaker and then fill with ice.
Vigorously shake the mixture for about 30 seconds and then strain into a cocktail glass filled with freshly crushed ice.
Top the drink with the orange soda and then garnish with a lemon slice; serve immediately.








 Follow along with Averna on Twitter, for more recipes!


Both of these 'berry delicious cocktails will be crowd pleasers at your Memorial Day weekend barbeques and parties, as well as all summer long!

Check out more of my cocktail recipes: Here and Here!
and check out my Total Wine wine class review HERE!


Disclaimer:  I was compensated in several mini-bar size bottles of booze in exchange for sharing these recipes.  Booyah.






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