Wednesday, April 27, 2016

{Spring Popsicles}: Coconut x Lime x Rose x Raspberry

I returned from a quickie getaway to the beach over the weekend that left me relishing Spring--and all its vibes--more than ever.  Back home and searching for kitchen inspiration for the blog, it wasn't long before my musings turned to the yummy, refreshing and whimsical world of popsicles.

I've had these darlings on my radar for quite a while, with the boxed popsicle molds sitting at the ready for about a year now, as a testament.  (Baby steps.)  But the moment finally arrived when Spring fever, coupled with my childlike obsession for all things frosty, could no longer be denied.




Enter my homespun (but delightfully scrumptious--and figure friendly) concoction of slightly sweet, tart, floral, and citrus-y popsicles.  The blend of coconut water, freshly squeezed lime juice, rose water, and surprise!, elderflower cordial, with fresh raspberries for their gorgeous aesthetic effect and tart bite, produced my newest favorite snack that's sure to keep me noshing throughout the remaining days of Spring...and beyond.

Happy Eating!

Spring Popsicles: Coconut x Lime x Rose x Raspberry

Ingredients:
2 cups coconut water
Juice of 2 limes
Teaspoon of rose water
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
Fresh raspberries

Method:
Combine coconut water, lime juice, rose water and elderflower cordial.  Fill popsicle molds halfway with mixure and add fresh raspberries.  Freeze for about 40 minutes.  Remove molds from freezer and fill with remaining mixture and top off with more berries.  Freeze overnight and enjoy! (Cook's Note: Run molds under warm water if difficult to remove.)  
  
 

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon

Vibrant green veggies (green beans, snow peas and green peas to be exact), fragrant fresh tarragon, lemon zest, coriander and mustard seed-infused olive oil, red chiles, garlic, red onion and baby lettuce.  Therein lies the magic to a fresh, bright, scrumptious--and perfect for Spring--salad.


I fell in love with the gorgeous colors that makes this salad a stunner, as much as I did with the robust flavors.  Eating in season never tasted (or looked) so good.  So welcome this dish into your Spring eating arsenal.

Happy Eating!

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon
Recipe courtesy of Refinery29
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Travel, Shop, Nosh and Save with Groupon Coupons


Few things excite me more than a great deal, but we all know that scouring for the best deals can be daunting at times, which makes having an 'inside track' to discounts and savings priceless.  And if you've heard of--and used--Groupon, then you know the thrill of landing that favorite item or service--for a steal!

With that mission in mind, today's post is dedicated to sharing some must-have discounts and deals through Groupon Coupons and their network of favorite retailers across almost every category imaginable.  Whether you fancy travel, luxury goods, gourmet treats, entertainment--or more, there's something for you.  Below are a few of my favorites to get you going.

Luxury Shoppping ~
Just in time for your Spring wardrobe needs, splurge and save with renowned retailers, Macy's, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

Travel ~
The opportunity to save on travel is worth five stars and then some! Plan your next getaway--for less--with deals from American Airlines, CheapOair, Travelocity and Priceline.

Gourmet ~
Enjoy sips and bites from Starbucks without denting your wallet.

Entertainment ~
Get tickets to your favorite movies (while avoiding the lines) with great deals from Fandango.

There is seemingly no limit to all the savings you can enjoy, so if you're looking for something in particular, head over to Groupon Coupons to search--and save!

Happy Savings!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however the opinions are my own.
Photo Credit: Groupon.com


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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

{A Night to Remember}: Dinner at the James Beard House


Since I began indulging my passion for all things culinary, I have been blessed to experience many delicious, inspiring--and downright amazing--moments.  And this past weekend, yet another was added to the list.  In fact, it constituted one of the most special food moments I've relished to date.

The euphoria of which I speak was a dreamy and unforgettable evening spent dining and mingling at the James Beard House in New York City.  The evening represented the culmination of the thrill of having the James Beard Foundation acknowledge my food and subsequently award me the honor of dinner for two at the Beard House.  I had been sitting on my gift for the many months since and finally elected my birthday weekend as the ideal opportunity to indulge.  And so I did.

All Smiles with Chef Petroni
Arriving at the outwardly unassuming venue where so much culinary greatness has transpired was a moment.  A few snaps later, my guest and I headed inside to join the other diners for what began as a standing reception with the most decadently scrumptious and gorgeous food and sips (think caviar, bone marrow, and then some).  Following bite after seemingly unending bite, while being cautious to reserve room for the feast to follow, dashes to and from the kitchen to observe the artistry in motion and capture some takeaway shots--including one with the featured chef, himself--, mingling with and meeting other equally exuberant guests, and doing a quick stroll of the upstairs, the formal dinner began.



What ensued was a six-course feast, aptly named the St. Joseph's Feast, interpreted by Chef Christian Petroni of Fortina restaurant in Armonk, NY; Rye Brook, NY; and Stamford, CT.  Course after course presented one delight after the next and carried the evening along so tastefully and beautifully that all sense of time was lost over the hours that passed.  A warm greeting by Chef Petroni and his team of talented chefs and staff ended the evening on the intimate, inspiring note that I could only have imagined prior.  It was, and will always be, a night to remember.

Thank you, James Beard Foundation, for the honor.  It was Happy Eating indeed!

See more photos from the evening here.




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Monday, March 7, 2016

Pasta Primavera

This past weekend looked and felt like Spring.  And as much as I endeavor to enjoy each season fully, I can't deny that it made me wish for winter to hurry along so that the milder, sun-kissed days could settle in for good.

The infectious nature went beyond the weather and drifted into my kitchen--and the result was my favorite rendition of Pasta Primavera ("Spring Pasta" in Italian).  My take abandons the typical cream-laden dish and instead serves up bountiful fresh, vibrant vegetables that stand deliciously on their own.  Accents of Italian dried herbs, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan infuse extra decadence--and robust flavor--that makes for a dish you'll want to savor throughout Spring--and beyond.


This dish was a hit at my Spring Pop-Up Cooking School last year--and I trust you'll find it to be a welcomed addition to your spring eating repertoire.

Happy Eating!

Pasta Primavera
Ingredients:
1 lb. linguine (or pasta of choice)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 bunch of asparagus tips
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Grated Parmesan, to taste

Method:
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan.  Add onions to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Saute until they begin to soften and become translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add in garlic and herbs an saute for another minute.  Add in vegetables, except the cherry and sun dried tomatoes, and season lightly with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Cook until the vegetables begin to soften and become tender, about 7-10 minutesRemove mixture from pan and pour into a large bowl.  Stir in sun dried and cherry tomatoes and set aside.

Meanwhile, as the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt.  Add in pasta to boiling, salted water and cook according to package instructions.  Drain pasta and reserve pasta water.

Pour pasta into bowl with vegetables and toss to combine, adding in reserved pasta water to moisten, as needed.  Taste for seasoning and garnish generously with Parmesan.  Serve and enjoy!    
Recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis 
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

{Beauty Rx}: Winter Skin Essentials

Dry skin be gone.

When your go-to moisturizers don't seem to be up for the challenge, what becomes the dry, cracked, dull tendencies of "winter kissed" skin most? Soothing body oils, super-power body scrubs and pout-worthy lip masks keep things beautifully simple, while getting you on your way to soft, supple skin again.

Your Arsenal:

The Best Body Oils to Banish Dry Skin (Glitter Guide)

Lip Treatments to Beat All Lip Treatments (Refinery 29)

My Can't Get Enough Body Polish  (Fresh)

Dry skin be gone.

Happy, Beautiful Living!

P.S. What are your beauty tips for radiant winter skin?

Photo Credit: Glitter Guide
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Monday, February 15, 2016

Postcard from Paris: 7 Must-Dos for an Unforgettable Visit

I arrived back in Paris last winter to a city as beautiful and as charming as ever, even on the heels of the tragic shooting that riddled the French capital only a week before.  From my very first visit many years before until now, Paris has always captivated my heart.  And I wouldn't let my date with her be deterred.

From the moment my feet touched the ground, it was a love affair reborn--with sights, scenes and tastes that created lasting memories and made for a most unforgettable time.  Below are seven of my favorite ways to take it all in.

Rent an Apartment
The view from my balcony
During my previous jaunts to Paris, my stays always entailed hotel accommodations, like this treasure, that left nothing wanting.  But this time around my heart turned to fuller immersion in my Parisian surroundings and the dream of renting an apartment in Paris became reality.  The now uber-popular Airbnb rental service made finding the perfect place (replete with an elevator for luggage and a balcony for taking in the gorgeous views) a cinch.  

Take a Cooking Class
Can you barely think Paris without thinking food? Not for long, I'm sure.  If you have the slightest 'foodie' sensibility, then you'll find that a morning or afternoon (or both, like, ahem, someone has been known to do), cooking class is the perfect indulgence.  My last two visits included cuisine and patissiere courses that left me more inspired than ever, with a few extra skills to boot.  Most recently, I went for macaron lessons at Le Cordon Bleu (dream class, right?) and the time before that I did double duty with morning cuisine (cooking) and afternoon patissiere (baking) classes at The Lenotre Cooking School.

Day Trip to Versailles
The Fabulous Hall of Mirrors


What would you think if I told you that a short train ride outside of the French capital could land you squarely in the lap of luxury?  That is exactly what a day trip to Le Chateau de Versailles delivers--and more. Revealing glimpses into old-world, French royalty and unbridled opulence, Versailles is a not-to-be-missed jewel.

Brunch at LADUREE
My passion for macarons began during my first visit to Paris over a decade and a half ago--and has never relented.  Especially when you consider the famed macaron house that frequently leaves me traipsing state-side for its delicacies.  But macarons aren't the only thing Laduree does well.  Brunch at the flagship location in the heart of Champs-Elysees is obsession-worthy. 

A Day (or more) at the Museum
Pyramide du Louvre
The Louvre aglow at night

Musee d'Orsay
Musee d'Orsay
Musee d'Orsay
Paris and its art scene are synonymous with museum life at its best.  A stay isn't complete without a visit to the iconic Musee du Louvre.  But there's so. much. more.  I couldn't fit in every museum I dreamed of seeing during my last visit, but I did manage to take in the exquisite Musee d'Orsay, along with an exterior-only viewing of the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum (it was closed when I arrived!).

Night Views atop the Arc de Triomphe
Rooftop Vibes
I've always been drawn to the Arc de Triomphe situated at the helm of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.  But its full charm comes alive when you make your way to the rooftop (it's a climb, for sure) to take in sweeping, panoramic views of the city.  And when done at night, amidst the twinkle and glow and beauty of Paris, there are few things that compare.

An Evening at the Opera
A few snaps at the apartment before heading out to the opera
Taking in the opera is one of my favorite travel indulgences and with Paris boasting both historic and modern opera houses, I couldn't leave before indulging.  Taking in the production of Don Giovanni at the modern Opera Bastille house couldn't have made for a more perfect final evening in my favorite city.

I hope this inspires you to take in Paris--and make unforgettable memories of your very own.  

Happy Travels!




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