Category Archives: Entertaining & Home

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

I have no idea what made me think of rice krispie treats (maybe marshmallow roasting?), but the idea popped into my head and I knew I had to make them. As a kid, I was delighted when I discovered the wrapped treat in my lunchbox, but I think I enjoyed the sweet morsels even more as I got older.

There were so many nights in middle school and even high school that involved making rice krispie treats. My best girlfriends and I would have sleepovers, gossiping, watching scary movies and eating pizza. When it was time for something sweet, we would crowd around the kitchen, melting the marshmallows and waiting for the pan to cool.

I went with a twist on the traditional recipe – this one includes cake batter. I adjusted this recipe by adding vanilla and extra cake batter. They were just as I remembered, extra sweet, gooey and crunchy at the same time. Each bite had just enough cake batter flavor. They were as fun to make as I remembered – and even more fun to share with friends over board games and conversation.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp butter (I used a light butter)
1 (10 oz.) bag of marshmallows
1 cup boxed dry cake mix (I used funfetti)
6 cups rice krispies cereal
1/2 cup sprinkles
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Spray a 11×7 baking pan with nonstick spray or rub with butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
  3. Add the marshmallows and stir constantly. Add the vanilla. Once the marshmallows are completely melted, stir in the dry cake mix. Turn off the stove.
  4. Stir in the cereal until it is completely coated with the marshmallow mixture. Mix in half of the sprinkles. Press with a buttered spatula into baking pan and top with the remaining sprinkles.
  5. Let cool for 30 minutes then cut into squares.

Have a wonderful weekend! xx

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Fab Friday: Cauliflower, Feta and Walnut Pasta

In college I lived abroad in Milan, Italy for about seven months. The floor of my apartment building had a shared kitchen and I refused to step foot in it for the first few months. I was completely intimidated. The Italian girls on my floor whizzed about the kitchen like master chefs all while laughing and enjoying a glass of wine. They were confident and skilled, probably from years of experience.

One evening I finally took the plunge, tip toeing down the hall with my box of pasta and can of sauce under my arm. As I dumped my box of pasta and a pinch of salt into boiling water, someone behind me started to laugh. I turned and looked at her (the girl who all the others called the best cook) quizzically. Then, without saying a word she walked over to the stove and dumped a mound of salt into the pot. She stood back and after the pasta had cooked a few short minutes she turned off the burner. I thought, “well this was about as bad as it could have gone.” But, I continued on, plopping on the sauce (she added olive oil and basil, only after informing me that it was best to use fresh tomatoes instead).

I learned the two keys to cooking pasta that night: don’t be afraid to add salt (maybe not as much) to the boiling water and undercook the pasta (I’ve figured about two minutes less than most American boxes advise). It has the added flavor, without being overly salty, and an al dente texture that I can’t live without.

I found this Alice Waters recipe and it sounded too good to pass up. Waters is an incredible chef, an activist for organic and farm to fork eating and she founded Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. This dish is hearty thanks to whole wheat pasta and walnuts. The cauliflower and walnuts give it crunch, while the red peppers, lemon and feta give the dish a zesty, spicy and refreshing flavor.

We are in the beautiful Sierra mountains, swimming and hiking during the day and gathering around a fire at night. Have a great weekend!

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Fab Friday: DIY Pickles

There are few food moments as rewarding as pulling a chilled pickle spear out of its jar and biting into it as it makes a loud crunching noise. It’s crisp, refreshing, slightly tangy, a little spicy and very salty. You can compare my passion for dill pickles to a pregnant lady’s…or Snooki’s (yes, I just did that). They are delicious on their own, and I can’t imagine a burger/sandwich/hot dog without them.

A few weeks ago, I was going down the chilled aisle at our local market and as I reached for a fresh jar of Claussen pickles (my favorite store brand), I stopped, not only because they were over five dollars (eek, but so worth it), but also because I remembered that pickles are easy to make from scratch. All you need are cucumbers (as fresh as possible), white vinegar and spices.

For these I used plenty of fresh dill, garlic and some red pepper and black peppercorns for a little spice. Celery seed and mustard seed are also great flavor additions. I suggest this recipe. Boil vinegar, water and salt in a pan. Put the spices into a jar with the sliced cucumbers. Pour the heated liquid mixture over the top of the jar, leaving some room at the top. Seal the jar and put it in boiling water for a few minutes (about five). Then, put the jar in the fridge and let them soak for at least a few hours, overnight is ideal. They are perfect for Fourth of July BBQs and will last for weeks.

Have a wonderful weekend! xx

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Fab Friday: Hamptons Home

I absolutely adore this glamorous, modern and cozy Southampton, NY home that I spotted in Harper’s Bazaar, photographed by Christopher Sturman. The home belongs to Theory founder Andrew Rosen and his girlfriend Jenny Dyer. The site, decor and of course, her clothes are gorgeous. Architect Ana Maria Torres redid the 1920s house about five years ago and Dyer decorated it herself (with some help from Rosen).

Skirt: Carolina Herrera and top: Stella McCartney.

A sunroom that is equal parts comfortable and chic.

I love the bedroom’s luxurious gray bedding and zebra rug, and its layout that takes advantage of the beautiful terrace view.

Dyer’s Theyskens’ Theory outfit here is perfection. The living space looks big and bright thanks to a great deal of natural light from large windows and neutral-colored furnishings.

The house’s bathroom offers a serene oasis with its gorgeous, circular, raised tub and skylight.

Another fabulous look of Dyer’s in front of their beautiful pool area. Jacket: Theskens’ Theory, bikini and skirt: Rag & Bone and shoes: Bottega Veneta.

Happy weekend! I’m looking forward to doing close to nothing over the next few days! xx

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Fab Friday: Summer Entertaining

summer cocktails

I love summer. The abundance of outdoor social gatherings, namely barbecues are one of my favorite things about the season. It’s easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed when hosting large dinner parties; I generally avoid them for this reason. Summer entertaining, however, can be much simpler.

Barbeques seem like a group effort. It’s easy for a few people to man the grill and still be able to socialize, instead of being stuck inside the kitchen hovering over a stove. Beautiful weather and friends also lends itself to easy outdoor entertainment like frisbee, croquet or low maintenance board games. Last Sunday, we had our first night of summer entertaining and I was reminded of how rewarding and stress-free it is to host summer events. The relaxed, casual atmosphere makes hosting a lot of people especially enjoyable.

summer cocktails

Refreshing citrus-based cocktails were a highlight of the night. We toasted our first official summer gathering with strawberry-infused champagne and later had sweet tea vodka slushies. One of my friends, (hi Erica!) is an incredible cook and cocktail maven and shared this unbelievably delicious sweet tea vodka drink with me. The drink includes a mix of vodka, sweet tea (Fire Fly brand is the best), some frozen lemonade concentrate (not too much or it will become overly sweet), fresh lemon juice (to balance out the sweet concentrate) and plenty of refreshing mint (hence the green-yellow color), all blended with some ice to taste.  The drink was a huge hit.

grilled veggies

Grilled veggies included sweet corn, sliced zucchini and shitake mushrooms brushed with light olive oil and seasonings.

BBQ grilling food

There were plenty of burgers (turkey, veggie and regular) and hot dogs with toasted honey wheat sesame buns. Salted pretzel buns are another great option. We set up a table with all the condiments and toppings from pickles to jalapenos to lettuce and onion so everyone could dress their own grilled selections.

I can’t wait to host many more of these. Have a great weekend! xx

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