Peanut Butter Granola (with Blueberries)

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I have heard that home-made granola is amazing, but I can’t believe it has taken me this long to try it.  Truthfully, it never occurred to me to make my own granola – the store bought kind has always been enough, and even that wasn’t thrilling.  This kind of mundane granola thinking came to grinding halt when, at the request of my kids, made Giada’s peanut butter granola recipe.

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Peanut Butter and Blueberry Granola

It all happened like this: my kids truly loves watching cooking shows.  We rarely watch TV, but when we do, Giada’s show is a frequently requested treat.  The last episode we watched focused on kid-friendly meals.  I told my kids that if they picked one item, we would make it the next day.  My son unequivocally picked the peanut butter granola and for the next 24 hours, the only thing we talked about were granola bars and how we were going to prepare them because I promised.

As promised, we bought the ingredients and prepared the granola.  It was unbelievably delicious and, frankly, put all the store-bought varieties to shame.  I made a few alterations to the original recipe to suit my taste – instead of chocolate chips, we included dried blueberries and we did not toast the almonds.  We served it with a side of fresh bananas and poured kefir (yogurt drink) over the top.  It was perfect (if I do say so myself).

I plan on making this again (with my little two helpers, of course) for a casual brunch with friends out in the backyard, and serving it alongside some fancy seasonal fruit and milk served in beautiful little personal mason jars.

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The granola was so delicious, that by the time I went over to photograph it, it was half-eaten. I shot it anyway because it looked too beautiful! In reality, nothing is picture-perfect and I love that.

 

Ingredients:

Vegetable cooking spray
1 egg white
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup (1-stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted as an option)
1/2 cup dried blueberries (or other dried fruit of your choice)

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with the cooking spray.  Lay a piece of parchment paper in the middle of the pan so that pieces stick out of the edges (see photo for illustration). Spray the parchment paper a little as well.

Step 2: Combine ingredients in the following order.  Whisk the egg-white in a medium bowl until it is frothy.  Then add the peanut butter, brown sugar, and honey. Then add the melted butter, oats, and almonds. Once the mixture is a nice even consistency, add the dried blueberries.

Step 3: Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly into the pan.  Then bake until the edges begin to brown (approximately 10-15 minutes).  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a good hour.  Then cut into squares or diamonds and serve.

Easy, right?  Enjoy!

xx Lisa

Pink & Sparkle Giveaway

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One of my favorite things to do is dress up with my daughter and celebrate all the girly things in life.  We have been known to occasionally have matching outfits or wear similar colors – it is truly one of the delights of having a daughter.  To celebrate Spring and all the girly ways my daughter and I like to be fancy, I have hand selected some of our favorite items for this giveaway.   Our prize consists of my favorite fancy pink and sparkly items that my daughter and I enjoy.

THE PRIZE – One lucky winner will receive:

(1) One girls’ pink Pearl Bling bracelet from My Little Fancies.

(2) One pair of limited edition Blush moccasins from Freshly Picked.

(3) One ladies’ Extravagant Crystal Necklace from Viva la Jewels.

(4) One Essie nail polish in the color Fiji.

(5) One  Heart Shaped Locket couture girls’ headband from Petite Rose Couture.

 

TO ENTER:

(1) Subscribe to this blog by entering your in the Subscribe section in the right hand column of my blog and then confirming your subscription when you receive an email from me (you MUST confirm the subscription to qualify for an entry).

(2) Follow the following participants on Instagram (they are also listed on my post on Instagram. Here are easy links: @myfancynest, @freshlypicked, @petiterosecouture, @mylittlefancies, and @viva_la_jewels

(3) Repost my Instagram photo about the giveaway and hashtag it with #pinkandsparkle.

(4) For additional entries, you may tag your friends under the original Instagram post.  Tag up to 5 friends.

Once you have completed the above steps, please comment on this post or on my Instagram post about the giveaway with the number of entries you have made.

Contest ends on Friday, 5/23/14 at 5PM PST and winner will be announced in the comment thread below as well as on Instagram.

 

GOOD LUCK!!!

 

xx Lisa

 

Silhouettes

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I love collecting original works of art to fill my home with character. I fell in love with Carter Kustera’s work when I first saw some of his brightly-hughed silhouettes gracing the walls of the Jonathan Adler store in West Hollywood near my old apartment.

I couldn’t resist the artist’s interpretation on a classic and invested in a set of silhouettes of my husband and me. Each silhouette is custom made to order based on a profile photo submitted by the customer. To complete the work, each piece gets a custom quote written in pencil by Kustera below the silhouette itself.

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I opted for a more classic black silhouette of the two of us and made sure the photos I selected were facing each other so that in the final product the silhouettes would face each other as well.

To date, these two hand painted silhouettes are some of my favorite pieces in my home. I framed them in two unique gold frames. I love them so much, I am considering adding a silhouette of each of my children to our collection.

xx
Lisa

Rosemary Rack of Lamb

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Rosemary Garlic Rack of Lamb

 

Making a beautiful rack of lamb can be downright intimidating.  At first glance, it appears to be an endeavor of some kind to have an edible finished product.  But I am here to tell you to throw all those preconceived notions aside.  This beauty is made in three simple steps.  The results are phenomenal (and when you get compliments you can still pretend you spent all day in the kitchen).  Although cook time is about an hour, hands-on prep is only 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb (I made two here, which simply means cook a tad longer and use a bigger pot)
  • 6 medium golden potatoes, quartered
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, removed from stem and finely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, chopped finely
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • red wine (optional – I used the same Pinot Noir that I served with the dinner)
  • extra virgin olive oil

Method:

 

Step 1 – Sear the Rack of Lamb:  Add olive oil to large pot (I use a dutch oven from Le Crueset) and put on medium high heat to warm.  Place rack of lamb on platter so bones face down (see below photo) and sprinkle generously with rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Place seasoning side down in the pot and allow to sear for five minutes.  Do not cover and do not disturb the meat.  This will allow it to get a nice crust and seal in the moisture of the meat so that it is nice and juicy.  While bottom side is searing, sprinkle same seasoning mixture on the side facing up.  At the end of five minutes, flip the lamb over and allow the other side to sear.  This side should take less time – three minutes should do it.  Remove the lamb from the pot (its ok if some of the seasoning fell off and remains in the pot).

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Step 2 – Add Potatoes:  While the lamb is searing, quarter the potatoes.  Once lamb is seared and removed, add the potatoes to the empty pot.  Deglaze with the red wine (or red wine vinegar or a little bit of chicken stock – I prefer a red wine, but this is up to you).  Season the potatoes with salt, pepper, and garlic.  Place lamb back into the pot on top of the potatoes (without disturbing them) with the bones pointing down (see photo).  Cover.  Lower heat to medium.

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{While deglazing, don’t forget to pour yourself a ‘chef’s glass’ of red wine to enjoy while cooking!}

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Step 3 – Wait:  Allow lamb to cook for about 30-45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat 125°F on a for rare or 135°F for medium rare.  Remove meat and potatoes from the pot and allow to rest for 15 minutes.  Then serve!

 

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Bon a petit!

xx

Lisa

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Dinner.

Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena

20140512-130952.jpgTons of inspiration and shabby pieces at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena.

20140512-131059.jpgA shabby cabinet. Perfection.

20140512-130934.jpgSpices and teas.

Once a month (on the second Sunday of the month, to be exact) the in-the-know Angelenos flock to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena with high hopes of finding treasure. Heading to the Rose Bowl Flea Market is as exhilarating as it is exhausting so I end up going only a couple of times a year. Each time I go, I fine a little gem – sometimes large sometimes small.

Last Sunday my husband and kids appeased me in honor of Mother’s Day and faced 80 degree heat for a couple of hours. Unlike my usual trips when I have a specific list of items I am searching for, I was simply going to browse.

We did not end up taking any large items home, but I did find a couple of jewelry pieces like this gorgeous vintage locket (it actually opens!). I plan on putting a family photo inside.

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Delicate little gold locket that I had to take home.

xx
Lisa

Lemon Raspberry Cake

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I was inspired to make this cake after seeing Giada’s version. I just love the combination of lemon and raspberry and this may be my very favorite frosting to make.

The only thing that makes this cake more perfect than it’s layers of flavor is the fact that it is simple enough to make from scratch with my son (3 yo) and daughter (1.5 yo), which is precisely why I decided to make it for Mother’s Day this year. My kids and I made the cake during the day and invited my parents over for tea and cake to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early.

The cake itself is extremely moist and has a delectable lemon flavor. And the raspberry frosting, made with creme fraiche, is nothing short of decadent.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there. I hope you enjoy making this cake for a special celebration.

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Cake:
1 box of white cake mix
1 lemon, juiced
3 egg whites
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 8″ round cake pans.

Using an electronic mixer or stand mixer (I use a KitchenAid stand mixer) combine the cake ingredients, mixing the wet ingredients first and then adding the dry cake mix. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely for 30-60 minutes.

Frosting:

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup creme fraiche (can substitute sour cream)
1/3 cup raspberry jam, plus 3 tablespoons for smoothing between cake layers
1 lb powdered sugar

Whisk together the butter and creme fraiche . Gradually mix in the sugar. When a smooth consistency is reached, add the raspberry jam.

Assembly:

Prepare your cake plate or stand with squares of parchment paper all along the edge as shown in the below photo. Then place one of the layers of cake on top. Spread a thin layer of jam in the middle of the cake without going all the way out to the edges (to prevent oozing when top layer is added). Place second layer on top.

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To ice the cake, start from the top center and smoothing out frosting in an outward motion and around the edges using a spatula. Gently remove the parchment paper when done icing to reveal a neat and clean cake stand base.

To decorate, my son was given the very important task of placing raspberries all around the bottom edge of the cake and a few in the center. So simple and elegant.

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Your cake is now ready. My favorite part is seeing the two layers and thin raspberry jam layer in between when a piece is cut.

Of course, best served with a cup of tea. Enjoy!

xx
Lisa

Blue, White and Coral Bedroom

Oh, Anthropologie, you are my happy place.  That includes when I am thinking about adding a little  color to my white-everything bedroom. Loving the blue and coral combo.  I like the idea of changing up the bedding to add color, that way the room is ever-changing.

Here are the details of what’s above (all items from Anthro):

Meadow Rose Lamp Shade • Anthropologie
Soft-Washed Linen Duvet • Anthropologie
Reina Chair • Anthropologie
Lovenia Embellished Duvet • Anthropologie
Colorblock Mug • Anthropologie
Canyon Planters • Anthropologie
Handwoven Akeno Throw • Anthropologie
Embroidered Medina Curtain • Anthropologie
Twined Jersey Quilt • Anthropologie

 

Gold Ring Roundup

Here is a list from left to right (starting with top left):

Catbird 14k Twisted Ring
SunaharA Malibu Suna Ring Set
Catbird 14k Mignon Knuckle Ring
Catbird 14k Mignon Knuckle Ring
Marco Bicego Turquoise and 18K Yellow Gold Ring • Marco Bicego
Gabriela Artigas Single White Diamond Ring
Sydney Evan 14k Yellow Gold Pure Love Script Ring • Sydney Evan
Jacquie Aiche Diamond & 14K Rose Gold Bar Double-Finger Ring • Jacquie Aiche
Ariel Gordon Jewelry Love Knot Ring • Ariel Gordon

As someone who is pretty particular about her jewelry, I tend to select dainty sentimental pieces that I can wear every day.  For this reason, I prefer to splurge on a piece now and again instead of buying many trendy pieces over time.  Since I have had my eye on a few tiny (and not-so-tiny) elegant gold rings, I thought I would share them with you.  I love that you can wear multiple delicate rings at once to create your own unique look.

 

Let me know which is your fave!

xx

Lisa

California Confetti Salad

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There are few things that make me happier than a perfectly ripe California avocado – soft with just the right amount of creaminess. Here in Cali we have an abundance of avocados all year long, so I have gotten creative.

I was so excited when I invented this recipe because it is a vibrant variation from guacamole but still features avocado as the star ingredient. Besides the taste, this salad is full of color and texture, which my kids love. And the healthiness factor is off the charts – there is no oil or salad dressing in this but the flavor is incredibly robust. The creaminess of the avocado is the perfect base for the rest of the nutritious ingredients.

Ingredients:
4 ripe avocados, cubed
1 orange bell pepper, diced
3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 salt to taste

Preparation:

Simply combine all the veggies in a salad bowl. Add garlic, salt, and juice the lemon over the top. Stir well and serve. Doesn’t it just look like a bowl full of confetti?

Bon a petit!

xx
Lisa

Best Green Tea Latte in LA

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Green tea latte from Urth Caffe in Los Angeles.

 

When I am in WeHo, it is almost inevitable that I stop at Urth Caffe.  I used to live a couple of blocks away so my obsession with this latte goes back many years.  From the frothy milk inevitably presented with an impeccable design, to the gorgeous color and texture of the latte itself, you cannot go wrong by swinging by and picking one of these up.  Simple and always brightens my day.