Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing


My good friend invited me to join her in a cookie class the other week. We decorated Christmas sugar cookies! At first I was a little disappointed, because I have decorated sugar cookies in the past with Royal icing. BUT! I did learn some new techniques and had so much fun!
Baking for me is such a stress reliever. It allows me to follow a recipe and just focus on the task at hand. And then when you're done, you have a nice treat! 

Below I have the recipes for the sugar cookies that I make every year, and the Royal icing. (You may remember the Gingerbread Snowflakes With Royal Icing I posted last December here). 





Cookies
Ingredients 
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Directions
1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
2. In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and combine. 
3. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients. 
4. Divide dough in half, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for two hours. 
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
6. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with flour. Remove one wrapped dough from refrigerator at a time. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shape. 
7. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges. Rotate cookie sheet halfway through baking time. 
8. Let sit on cookie sheet for two minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once cool decorate as desired. 





Icing
Ingredients 
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
10 tablespoons warm water
Flavored emulsion if desired
Food coloring gel

Directions
1. Combine ingredients above in an electric mixer on low speed for about 8 minutes. 
I like to make my icing the consistency of pancake batter. No stiff peaks she. You mix but a little shaking will even it out. Add more powdered sugar or water until you get desired consistency. 
2. Divide icing into several bowls and add food coloring. 
3. Transfer frosting to pastry bags or squirt bottles. 
4. Outline cookies and then fill in the inside. Add sprinkles and decorations. 










Happy Holidays!!

XO, N






Monday, December 14, 2015

Peppermint Bark

I love Christmas time.. I love all the baking and the cold weather that comes with it. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest. It's been cold and rainy here for the past month. Up North is flooding there's so much rain. Which is OK with me, we need it.

Anyway, I made some amazing peppermint bark to take to work and give out to friends. It is SUPER easy, and tastes amazing. For the chocolate I used Ghirardelli because that is my favorite. It's so creamy and smooth, you can't go wrong!





Ingredients
12 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate (depending on your preference. I used milk)
12 ounces white chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
12 round hard peppermint candies, crushed

Directions
1. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny side up. 
2. Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat.
3. Put half of the semisweet/milk chocolate in a smaller sauce pan, and set over the saucepan on steaming water. Stir until half of the chocolate is melted. Remove saucepan, and stir in the other half of the semisweet/milk chocolate a few pieces at a time, stiring until all chocolate is melted. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Let set about 10 minutes.
4. Repeat step #3 with the white chocolate. Once white chocolate is poured into baking dish, on top of the semisweet/milk chocolate, sprinkle with crushed peppermint.
5. Set aside until firm. Then lift bark out of pan and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.





Hope you guys enjoy! 

Happy Holidays! 

XO, N



Sunday, December 13, 2015

New Years Eve Dresses

If you don't already have your NYE dress picked out, you better do it fast! Only a few more weeks left to make some New Years resolutions. 

I like to ring in the new year looking my best.. Even if I'm just hanging out with a few girlfriends. It just makes you feel good! 

I rounded up some pretty cute dress options. Most are under $30! 






What are your big New Years Eve plans?

XO, N



Friday, December 11, 2015

Green Bean Mushroom Tart



Ingredients: 
1 sheet of thawed puff pastry 
1 large egg
3/4 pound thin green beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper 



Directions: 
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and place in cold water to cool. Then set on a paper towel to dry.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the thyme and saute for 3-5 minutes. Then add the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute another 2-3 minutes and remove from skillet and pull out the thyme sprigs.
4.Add the remaining butter to the skillet with the sliced shallots. Saute until golden-brown and crispy, 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the puff pastry down the middle and place both pieces 3-4 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush the pastry sheets with egg. Neatly layer green beans down the length of each puff pastry rectangle.
5. On both puff pastry sheets, top the green beans with mushrooms, crumbled blue cheese, and crispy onions. Salt and Pepper lightly.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are golden. Serve warm or room temperature





Recipe from A Spicy Perspective 




Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 Gift Guides

I've put together a list of all of my favorite gift guides from other bloggers this year. 
Also if you missed my first ever 2015 gift guide, you can shop it here.  
Happy shopping!




2015 Gift Guide (Damsel In Dior)

For The Hostess (Sequins And Stripes)

For The Little Ones (Jillian Harris)

For The Kids - Under $50 (Carrie Bradshaw Lied)

For Guys (Sequins And Stripes)

For Him - Under $75 (Carrie Bradshaw Lied)


For The Entertainer (The Vault Files)

The Glamour Girl (Kelly Golightly)

Beauty (Stephanie Sterjovski)


The Gift Guide (Harper's Bazaar)

For The Beauty Lover (Lauren Conrad)

Home Gift Guide (Chronicles Of Frivolity)

Gift Guide 2015 (Lulu & Georgia) 





Friday, December 4, 2015

Coffee Table Inspiration

So recently I've been trying to style my coffee table. I've ordered a few coffee table books but I just can't seem to get it how I love it. Someone want to come over and style it for me?! 

Here are a couple coffee tables from some ladies that I follow on Instagram. They have given me some inspiration because they have amazing style and taste! 






1. Sarah Swanson of FlourishDesignAndStyle // 2. Kat Tanita of WithLoveFromKat // 
3. Kathleen of CarrieBradshawLied // 4. Ashley Kane of BrunchOnChestnut // 
5. Lauryn Evarts of TheSkinnyConfidential // 6. Emily Shuman of CupcakesAndCashmere














Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Black Friday Deals

I'm not one to go out super early the day after Thanksgiving with tons of people, in the cold, just to get a deal. I absolutely hate crowds. I prefer waking up and drinking some nice warm coffee in bed while shopping on the Internet. 
Who's with me?! 


Check out all the pre-Black Friday deals right here!




Amazon — 30% off select clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and watches, through Nov. 27 with code 30BLACKFRI.
Ann Taylor — 50% off everything with code CELEBRATE.
Bag, Borrow, or Steal — 30% off site wide with code BLACKFRI30.
Banana Republic — 40% off with code BRFRIENDS, and 50% off sweaters.
Bauble Bar — 30% off everything with code THX, starting at 5PM.
Express — 50% off everything.
Forever 21 — items starting at $4.00. 
Gap — 50% off everything with code GAPFRIDAY.
J Crew — 30% off with code HOLIDAY.
Kate Spade — Surprise sale, up to 75% off, through Nov. 28.
Lulu & Georgia — 20% off $250+ with code GIVEME20, 25% off $500+ with code GIVEME25, and 30% off $1,000+ with code GIVEME30.
Macy's — Extra 25% off designer handbags, 60% off women's coats, and 50% off women's sweaters.
Madewell — 25% off your entire purchase with code CALMDOWN, through Nov. 29.
Nasty Gal — 30% off favorited items.
Neiman Marcus — up to 40% off regular prices in select better apparel, and 25% off regular prices in kids, through Nov. 30.
Net-A-Porter — Up to 50% off.
Nine West — 50% off almost everything.  
Nordstrom — up to 40% off.
Old Navy — 30% off everything online, 40% off $100+ with code EARLYBIRD.
Revolve Clothing — Up to 80% off.
Sigma Beauty — get 30% off select items.
Shop Bop — up to 25% off entire site with code GOBIG15.
Show Me Your Mumu — up to 40% off with code 40FORMU.
Top Shop — Up to 50% off select lines. 
Urban Outfitters — 30% off sale, 40% off sale for Urban On members. 
Victoria's Secret — Buy one bra, get one 50% off with code DOUBLEUP.

Happy shopping!
XO, N


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Leg Rice Krispy Treats



The Thanksgiving countdown is on. I'm sure everyone is planning their dinner recipes and making sure they have everything they need for the big day. 
Well, here is a quick and easy recipe you can make for an extra little treat at the kids table. I'm sure the adults will eat them too.. Who doesn't love Rice Krispy treats?! They will be a big hit! 
Can a sweet treat get any cuter? I don't think so. 







Ingredients 

Large pretzel rods
1 bag mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter
8 cups rice krispies cereal
1 bag white chocolate chips 
Multi-colored sprinkles


Directions

1. Melt white candy melts, and adhere two mini marshmallows to the end of a pretzel rod and let dry. 
2. Dip end of pretzel rod into white candy melts one or two times. Sprinkle end with some sprinkles and let dry. 
3. Combine marshmallows and butter. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir to combine. Add rice krispy's and mix gently. Form the 'turkey meat' on each pretzel rod. (Hint: Spray your hands with cooking spray before forming, and it won't stick to your hands!) Let set until firm. 






Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 
XO, N



Monday, November 23, 2015

2015 Gift Guide

This is the first gift guide I've put together! I'm so excited because I absolutely LOOOOVE gift guides! They're so helpful.. and so fun! I look forward to looking at all of them every year. They start to get me into the Christmas spirit.

So here's my guide, it's basically things 'for her'. Pretty much some of my favorite things, and some things that are on my holiday wish list as well. 

Hope you enjoy! 




CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO SHOP




Friday, November 20, 2015

Pomegranate Vanilla Bean Naked Cake



For about the past week, I've been craving cake and icing. Lots of icing.. But I didn't give in, until today. I love my sweet treats with some sort of fruit. Pomegranates are in season right now so they are tasting amazing. I love putting pomegranates in my yogurt with granola. 
It's been pretty cold and rainy the last week, so doing anything outside is pretty much out of the question. I hate being cold, especially cold and wet. So, let baking season begin! 






Ingredients 

1 pomegranate 
2 sticks butter
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
If you're not using the homemade vanilla extract, you'll need a vanilla bean also. 

Frosting recipe can be found here



Directions

1. Butter and flour two round baking pans. 
2. Beat together butter and sugar in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add eggs, then vanilla (also 1/2 a vanilla bean if not using the homemade version). In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternating in batches with the milk. Mix until smooth. Divide batter between the two round pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
3. Make frosting while cake is baking. 
4. Assemble cake. Cut cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Start by putting a thick layer of frosting on the bottom cake. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds. Then add the second cake and repeat. Frost the sides with just a thin layer, so the cake and berries show through. Top with pomegranate seeds. 




Thanks for reading guys! Have a great week!

XO, N









Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Links I Love

 
 

Beautiful bug wall art - (Refinery29)

How to Anti-Age Your Body - (Marie Claire)

Next level stuffing recipes - (Refinery29)

A great hostess gift - (Goop)

What to do when you think you're getting a cold - (TheCut)

Cheese is addictive as drugs - (LA Times) 

The first plus size collection wins Project Runway - (WhoWhatWear) 
 
Yummy dinner time hacks (Goop)

Drinking coffee could make you live longer (Byrdie)







Friday, November 13, 2015

Apple Cider Cocktail



Apple season is here, and I have so many apples to use up. Here is another apple recipe that's for adults only. ;) It turned out so tasty! 




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

6 DIY Place Cards

The holidays are coming! Here are the six cutest place cards I found, to make yourself, for this coming holiday season. They are all super easy, and super cute! I think that when you're hosting a dinner or get together, the little details are what people really appreciate. 



Gold leaf (Lark & Linen)




Glitter pumpkin (Taryn Williford)




Pinecone (Project Wedding)




Rosemary Wreath (SpoonForkBacon)




Stick and pine (Martha Stewart)




Patron (HonestlyYum)




For more holiday inspiration, check out my Thanksgiving and Christmas Pinterest boards. Thanks for reading!

XO, N




Monday, November 9, 2015

Nordstrom's Fall Clearance Sale!

I love Nordstrom sales! Right now they are having their fall clearance sale. Save up to 40% through November 15th. 
I put together some of my favorite sale items (2 pages). My favorite fur vest is on sale too, so check it out! Seriously, there is a ton of great stuff, but it's going fast! Snag some goodies for yourself and for your people for Christmas! Happy shopping!

SHOP BY CLICKING ON THE IMAGE BELOW

Shop the rest of the sale here.
What great items have you bought? 

XO, N


Friday, November 6, 2015

Apple Raspberry Crostada




So many apples! I was assigned to make a sweet treat for a girls night, so of course I wanted to make something with ingredients that are in season and fall-ish. Is it still fall? 
I've made a galette before, and I've been wanting to make a crostada for awhile. I found lots on Pinterest using pears, so I just got an idea of the ingredients and threw this all together. Enjoy!






Ingredients
Pie dough (My favorite recipe can be found here)
2 apples, pealed and cut
A few raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
1 tablespoon butter
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Directions
1. In a bowl, coat apples with lemon juice. In a separate bowl combine 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Transfer only apples, leaving the lemon juice, into the sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture and stir to coat. 
2. Roll out pie dough into a 10 inch circle.
3. Place apple mixture into center, and fold up the sides of the dough. Add raspberries as desired. 
4. Dice up butter and place on top of the fruit mixture.
5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar onto the dough. 
6. Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30  minutes or until edges are golden brown.








Thanks for reading! 

XO, N


Home




Here are some things from my home wish list I've recently added.
(I've been loving white marble lately).





Sunday, November 1, 2015

Night Time Skin Care Routine

My night time skincare routine is pretty basic. Sometimes I'll get crazy and do a face mask. (See my top 7 face masks post here). I try to do a face mask at least once a week, but honestly I've been slacking on my skincare lately. 

I'll start by washing my face with Shiseido cream cleanser and my Clarisonic brush. After, I pat my face dry, (Don't pull or tug on your skin!) and put on my awesome robot mask, the Illumask, for 15 minutes. I bought the acne one because it actually has both the red and blue lights, whereas the anti-aging one only has red. (Red is for anti-aging, and blue is to kill bacteria).  
Then, I moisturize using the StriVectin retinol eye treatment on and around my eyes, ROC deep wrinkle night cream on my neck and face, and Dr. Lipp's nipple balm on my lips. (Trust me this stuff is incredible, especially in the winter).
Lastly I put Cetaphil lotion on my body and if my hands are feeling super dry, ( they usually do) I will wear my Bliss glamour gloves for a bit while I watch TV. I've tried to sleep with them on before and I end up ripping them off in my sleep. 

I listed all the products I mentioned below, so check them out. I love them all! 




Do you have a night time skincare product you absolutely love?! I'd love to know!

XO, N