A Little SinfulColors for Valentines Day

Channel your inner Cupid this Valentine’s Day with the SinfulColors Flirt With Hearts collection. These eight sensuous hues are guaranteed to make hearts flutter.  With a mix of classic reds and pinks, trendy teal plus a brand new, exclusive, limited-edition heart-shaped glitter, Love Sprinkles, you’re sure to find your nail polish soul mate.

The SinfulColors Flirt With Hearts collection is amorously appropriate for the biggest date night of the year or anytime you want to add a touch of flirty fun to your manicure.

The SinfulColors Flirt With Hearts collection includes:sinfulnails

24/7: Our hottest pink

Daredevil: A pop of neon pink

Decadent: Dazzling red with metallic flakes

Dream On: A brilliantly induced boysenberry

GoGo Girl: A sleek and sexy candy-apple red

Love Sprinkles: Bubble gum pink gleaming with white hearts and flecks of glitter

Pinky Glitter: Bright pink with a splash of sparkle

Rise and Shine: The perfect teal

$1.99 each at Walgreens, Rite Aid and other mass retailers.

Advertisements

Everyone will love the Girl Scouts even more in 2015

It’s just the fifth of January and it’s already shaping up to be a sweet one. Girl Scouts announced today, that they will be adding three more flavors to their iconic cookie lineup. On February 27, which also marks the start of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend (and the day before my birthday – not that I’m ‘hinting for a bday gift ;-)…ok, I am)  the Scouts will debut Rah-Rah Raisins, Toffee-tastic and Trios cookies.  COOKIE LOVERS REJOICE!!

The Rah-Rah Raisin is an oatmeal raisin cookie with raisins and Greek yogurt–flavored chunks. The other two cookies are both gluten free; Toffee-tastic is a buttery cookie mixed with pieces of toffee, and Trios contain peanut butter, chocolate chips and oats.

GIRLSSCOUTS1

Girl Scouts can go out into the world and sell treats beginning February 1 and there are several ways to make sure your cookie jar is well stocked. Befriend a Scout and order your cookies online. You can download the Girl Scout Cookie Finder mobile app (iOS, Android) to find cookies in your area. Or you can warmly open your door when a Scout comes a’ knockin’.

Wedding Paper Divas Celebrity Invitation Style

Wedding season is here, and celebs are clearly feeling the love! With many recent star-studded engagements, Wedding Paper Divas experts used their vast design collecion to share their vision of our favorite celebrity couples and their upcoming nuptials. You can bring a bit of this Hollywood flare to your wedding celebration.

Amber Heard and Johnny Deppjohnny

Wearing a girl’s engagement ring isn’t the strangest thing we’ve seen on Johnny Depp, and we predict his upcoming wedding to model Amber Heard will be an affair as unique as they are. For their invitation design, we see them going for something similar to this simply stated gold foil design. Metallics are a hot trend, perfect for that couple looking to add a touch of drama to any design.

Ashlee Simpson and Evan Rossashley

If we take a cue from their lavish engagement party and her one-of-a-kind ring, we’re thinking Ashlee Simpson’s wedding to Evan Ross will be a vintage affair. This design perfectly illustrates the Modern Vintage trend, featuring classic shapes and patterns reinvented.

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddingeorge

The shock that one of our favorite bachelors is off the market is still wearing off, but we’re already looking forward to what is sure to be a wedding to remember. We’re swooning over the emerald cut rock that the actor gave his British human rights attorney, Amal Alamuddin, and if it’s any indication, the nuptials will feel as stunning and classic as this powerhouse couple is.

Haylie Duff and Matt Rosenberghaylie

This design from the new Marchesa collection (available exclusively at Wedding Paper Divas) is simply chic like the actress, singer and blogger, Haylie Duff. It’s sweet and feminine, but the dark undertones will also appeal to her entrepreneur fiancé, Matt Rosenberg. Whether it’s an outdoor summer wedding or an intimate wintertime affair, this design is perfect for any season.

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutchermia

After keeping their engagement (and pregnancy!) a secret for some time, Mila Kunis is finally sharing all the joyous news and we can’t wait to see what the bride-to-be and her actor fiancé Ashton Kutcher are planning for their big day. This design would be perfect for the couple, who is famous for their laid back style. It adds a touch of elegance and romance, but is still fun and playful.

Olivia Palermo and Johannes Hueblolivia

The wedding of style icon and former reality star Olivia Palermo, who is engaged to her long-time boyfriend, model Johannes Huebl, is definitely one that every fashionista will be waiting for. Olivia recently revealed that she will be wearing a sleek dress (no ball gowns for this tastemaker!), which makes us think that the wedding will be romantic, feminine and timeless. This elegant design with just a touch of whimsy perfectly complements such a stylish occasion.

Wine Wednesday: Andouille Sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving

WOW…seems like a long time since I’ve written a post for Wine Wednesday (SORRY!!) but with Thanksgiving tomorrow, some of you may wonder how to jazz up your holiday table.  Personally, I can’t wait to bite into this. I’m sure it will become one of your new favorites too. The spice of the Andouille sausage compliments the slight sweet and tart flavors from the apples and cranberries. Oh yea…it’s GLUTEN-FREE.andsau

Serves 6 to 8

Stuffing

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3 large celery stalks, diced
  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 recipe Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread (below), or 1 10-inch cornbread, cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  1. Place corn bread cubes on a baking sheet and leave out over night to dry. Or, toast the cubes in a 350 F degree oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Butter a 9X13-inch baking dish. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and apples and sauté until softened, about 7-9 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits, and sauté, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the cider, cranberries, rosemary, and sage and cook until the cranberries soften, about 5 minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
  3. Place mixture in a large bowl and add the corn bread, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and enough chicken stock just to moisten the mixture. Stir well. Pour stuffing into prepared dish. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake until stuffing is heated through and top is golden, 35 to 45 minutes.
Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread

  • 1 1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup plain drinkable yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Preheat an oven to 425 F degrees. Heat a 10-inch seasoned cast-iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes, until it’s very hot.
  2. Combine the cornmeal, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together the eggs, yogurt and maple syrup in a large bowl.
  3. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and add the butter, swirling it until it’s melted (it’s OK if it slightly browns). Working quickly, pour the hot, melted butter into the egg and yogurt mixture, and whisk until combined. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Allow cornbread to slightly cool before cutting.

Wine Wednesday: All about Bloody Mary’s

The Bloody Mary has seen a real renaissance in the past few years. A staple of the classic brunch, the Bloody Mary gained popularity as more and more people have decided that a Saturday or Sunday morning is best spent with eggs, bacon and vodka. Not only do I agree that this is the best possible way to spend any and all weekend mornings, I insist that more often than not, you make it your duty to do brunch at home instead of a restaurant. And what does that mean, my friends? For one thing, there’s no tipping required. And yes, you’ll have to mix up your own Bloody Marys.

If you thought your neighborhood brunch spot was the only place that could provide you with this sustenance, you are only slightly mistaken. Most restaurants may have a signature recipe, but you can have one too! The beauty of the Bloody Mary is that everyone likes it a different way—spicier, heavy on the horseradish or the worcestershire, etc. No matter what, there IS a way to achieve Bloody Mary greatness in your own home. When your friends start to suggest that you host brunch every weekend, rather than joining the brunching throngs in a restaurant, you’ll know the mission has been accomplished.

As stated before, everybody has different tastes when it comes to Bloody Marys, as with any cocktail. It’s at this point that we’re faced with a Bloody Mary conundrum; spicy or not spicy? More meaty, or more tomato-y? If you’re going for spicy, go heavy on three of the major elements: horseradish, black pepper and hot sauce. If you like your Bloody to taste like a T-bone steak, load it up with the worcestershire sauce, giving your drink a swift and savory kick. Insider tip: for an added kick of savory umami, throw in a tablespoon or two of soy sauce.

Use a solid tomato juice, something not from concentrate, like V8.
-Freshly cracked black pepper from whole black peppercorns; resist the urge to buy the less expensive table stuff.
-Quality hot sauce, like Tabasco, Cholula, or Frank’s Red Hot are favorites.
-Fresh horseradish, and I mean fresh. If it comes in a bottle that says “Horseradish Sauce,” that is not what you want. It should be shredded and when you inhale, it should slightly burn your nostrils.

Because the vodka is what makes this drink really shine, you’ll want to go with a good one. Just like the rules for cooking with wine, you should never use a spirit in a cocktail that you wouldn’t drink on its own.

Give the mixture a minimum of four to six hours or up to overnight to let those flavors develop.

The garnish on your Blood Mary is a more important element than you may think. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it’s what turns this drink from a cocktail to a meal in and of itself. Garnish is one area where you can really get creative, which is what makes it so fun. Whether you want to keep it traditional with a crisp celery stalk, or get a little crazy with some pickled vegetables, your garnish is what gives your Bloody Mary that final personal touch. I recommend going with some pickled vegetables like olives, pickles or string beans, since the acidity will play really nicely with the spices. Insider Tip: To really impress brunch guests with your garnish prowess, throw in a Benny’s Bloody Mary Beef Straw. Not only is it a tasty and meaty snack.

The Ultimate Bloody Mary
Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 48 oz bottle of Tomato Juice (we recommend V8)
1 ½ lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (we recommend Lea & Perrins)
1 ½ Tbsp hot sauce (we recommend Tabasco, Cholula or Frank’s)
2 Tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1- 1 ½ heaping Tbsp freshly grated horseradish
1 Tbsp celery salt
1 bottle of vodka (we recommend Ketel One)

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients (except the vodka) in a large pitcher. Stir to combine. Seal tightly and let sit at room temperature for a minimum of four hours, or up to overnight.

Fill a tall glass with fresh ice cubes, and fill ¾ of the way with your prepared Bloody Mary mix. Fill the rest of the glass with vodka and stir to combine. Garnish with celery stalk, carrot stick, or the garnish of your choice.

Red Snapper

Ingredients

3 ounces Gin

6 ounces tomato juice

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 dashes Tabasco

3 dashes worcestershire sauce

2 pinches celery salt

2 pinches freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions: 

Rim a glass with the black pepper and celery salt

Shake all other ingredients over ice and strain into ice-filled glass.

 

How to make Bloody Ninja

Very similar to the traditional Bloody Mary, except for the base spirit, which is Sake.

45 ml Sake

90 ml Tomato Juice

15 ml Lemon Juice

1 dash Tabasco Sauce

2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce

1 dash Salt

1 dash Pepper

Celery Stalk

 

Add dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper into highball glass, then pour all ingredients into highball with ice cubes. Stir gently. Garnish with celery stalk.

Bloody Mary with Pickled Prawns

This recipe calls for a few additions to our Bloody Mary mix, but the real pièce de résistance is the pickled prawn perched on the rim of the glass.

 

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish

1/2 teaspoon pickling liquid from our Pickled Prawns

2 to 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Ice

4 ounces tomato juice

2 ounces vodka

Salt

Finely ground black pepper

2 Pickled Prawns, for garnish

1 celery stick, for garnish

Combine limejuice, jalapeño, horseradish, prawn pickling liquid, and Worcestershire sauce in a cocktail shaker and muddle until the jalapeño is pulverized. Add ice to fill halfway, then add tomato juice and vodka and season with salt and pepper. Shake vigorously until combined, about 20 seconds.

Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with pickled prawns and celery.

Wine Wednesday: Gatsby Inspired Cocktails at the W Hotel

There is a lot of excitement for the première of the “The Great Gatsby this Friday (Nationwide) and the W Hotels in NYC are celebrating too. They’re serving up “Gatsby” Inspired Cocktails to take you back to the 20’s and party like it’s prohibition.

 

Each Living Room across NY is mixing up for the début of “Gatsby. For example the W New York – Downtown will have these at their location $14.

 

THE ROARING 20’S  From the “rum running” days of Prohibition;TOM BUCHANAN –  a  lot richer than a Tom Collins;  DOUBLE DAISY which has Plymouth Gin and considered a complex drink from a simpler era; EAST EGGFor Long Island summer afternoons; JAY GATSBYA mojito designed for a millionaire and THE FLAPPER – also known as the Clove Club – a pre-Prohibition classic.

 

At the W New York – Union Square for $16 you can try these…or make them to try at home for your own Gatsby inspired evening.

 

BETWEEN THE SHEETSBetween the Sheets

1.5 oz. Pierre Ferrand V.S.O.P Cognac

1.5 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

1.5 oz. Cana Brava Rum

.75 oz. Lemon Juice

In a shaker, add all ingredients then add ice and shake well.  Strain into a chilled martini glass and slide .5 oz. grenadine down side of the glass for color and slight sweetness. 

 

This cocktail dates back to the roaring 20’s and was created by Harry MacElhone, head bartender at the eponymous Harry’s New York bar in Paris. 

OLIVES SIDECAROLIVES SIDECAR:

2oz. Brenne

1oz. Pierre Ferrand

1oz. Lemon Juice

.5 oz grenadine

Lemon Twist

In a shaker, add all ingredients then add ice and shake well.  Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

 

Not as straight forward as the original, but our version does just the trick. Brenne, is a  French single-malt whiskey to the standard Cognac or Bourbon, and add a touch of grenadine for looks, flavor, and fun.

W New York  + W Times Square – $16 (available in The Living Room and Whiskey Blue)

 

GOLD COASTww3

2 oz Blended Whiskey

½ oz Sweet Vermouth

1/4 oz Cherry Herring

2 Dashes of Absinthe

Rinse a rocks glass with Absinthe and add ice. Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the Absinthe rinsed glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

 

THE DAISY JULEPww4

2 oz Woodford Reserve

1 oz water

1 teaspoon sugar

4 springs of fresh mint

Crush mint leaves in highball glass fill with ice, add tablespoon of simple syrup and tablespoon of water. Add

Woodford and stir until glass frost.

Garnish with mint sprig.

 

EAST EGG                  ww6                                                                       

Muddle in Rocks Glass:

2-3 pieces of Cucumber                                                                              

1 oz. cucumber juice

¾ oz lime juice

Add Ice and:

1 ½ oz. Bombay Gin

Shake vigorously & strain over 3 cubes of ice. Garnish with a Cucumber wheel & mint leaf.

 

Some thought times were much simpler then…and in some cases they were. No matter what, these cocktails are sure to continue to be classics and you know what… sometimes what is old is new again.

Wine Wednesday: Prepare your Cinco de Mayo celebration

There’s no better way to celebrate Mexico’s proud culinary heritage than with intensely flavored, authentic recipes. Here, we’re featuring our favorite Mexican dishes and drinks that turn any gathering into a delicious fiesta.  Of course great Tequilla and or a cold cerveza is perfect to serve your guests.  While we celebrate “Mexican Independence”…is it really??

This dessert, excerpted from the cookbook My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson, gets its name from a magical thing that occurs in the oven. You fill a caramel-lined cake pan with chocolate cake batter, pour a layer of flan on top, and bake. When it comes out of the oven, you find that the flan has disappeared, and all you see is chocolate cake. You wait for it to cool, unmold it, and there is the flan! This is a sticky, rich, sweet dessert that is not for the faint of heart.

Spicy Pork Kebabscincodemayo

For the marinade:
1 dried hot red chile, stemmed and seeded
1 Tbs. grated lime zest
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1 Tbs. chopped canned chipotle in adobo (I like Herdez brand)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the kebabs:
2 pork tenderloins (1 to 1-1/4 lb. each), trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced into 1-1/2-inch-thick half-rounds
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 fresh poblano chiles, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
16 medium radishes, trimmed
16 scallions, root ends trimmed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the marinade:

Soak the red chile in very hot water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the chile and put it in a blender, along with all the remaining marinade ingredients. Blend until smooth. Set aside 1/2 cup of the marinade for basting. Put the remaining marinade and the pork in a large zip-top bag, seal, and massage the contents to coat. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the pork; discard the marinade.

Make the kebabs:

Thread the meat onto skewers, alternating with the onion, the poblano pieces, and the whole radishes.

Build a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to medium high and oil the grill grate. Grill the kebabs (uncovered for charcoal; covered for gas), turning every 2 to 3 min. Once the pork loses its raw look, baste with the reserved marinade each time you turn the skewers. Grill until the pork is firm to the touch and the edges have begun to brown and the vegetables have begun to color and soften, about 15 min. Mound the skewers on a warm platter; tent with foil to keep warm. Brush the scallions with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until they begin to brown and soften, turning frequently, 3 to 5 min.

To serve:

Remove the meat and vegetables from their skewers, mound them on the platter and arrange the scallions around the edges.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime-Cayenne Butter

4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
8 to 10 ears of corn

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the lime juice, salt, and cayenne. Keep warm.

Peel off all but one or two layers of the corn husks. Pull the remaining husks down, but not off, and remove the bulk of the silks (the rest will come off easily after they char). Pull up the husks; it’s okay if some kernels peek through.

Prepare a hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to high. Put the corn on the grate while the coals are still red-hot. (Cover a gas grill.)

Grill the corn, turning often, until the outer layer of husk is completely charred. Depending on your fire, this could take from around 5 to 10 minutes. You can push the corn to a cooler spot if you’re grilling other things for your meal, or transfer the grilled corn to a platter and keep it warm in the charred husks.

Just before serving, peel off the husk and brush away any remaining silks. Brown the kernels on the grill briefly, turning the corn frequently to develop a roasty color and a little additional smoke flavor, about 1 minute. (If the corn spends too long on the grill without the protection of the husk, the kernels will become dry and a bit chewy.)

Brush the warm cayenne butter on the hot grilled corn and serve immediately.

Flan Impossible (Impossible Chocolate Flan)

1 cup cajeta, store-bought (see tip, below) 

For the cake:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the flan:
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts, for garnish

Tip: Cajeta, or Mexican milk caramel, is usually made with goat’s milk, and available at Latin markets. If you can’t find it, substitute dulce de leche.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan.

Pour the cajeta over the bottom and sides of the cake pan using a brush or the back of a spoon (you can heat the cajeta very slightly in the microwave so that it is easier to spread).

Make the Cake:

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, whisking until thoroughly combined. Pour the cake batter into the pan and set aside.

Make the Flan:

Combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt in a blender and blend until there are no visible lumps. Pour gently over the cake batter.

Cover loosely with foil, place in a large baking dish, and fill the baking dish with hot water so that it comes halfway up the sides. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Remove the cake pan from the baking dish and allow to cool for at least 4 hours or refrigerate overnight. To unmold, lightly pass a warm knife around the edge, place a plate or dish on top, and carefully but rapidly flip over. Garnish with the toasted nuts. Serve cold or at room temperature.