Category Archives: Celebrate

Celebrate - Eat

Gold Coin Lemon Butter Shortbread Cookies

March 16, 2017

lemon butter shortbread cookies

Still looking for St. Patrick’s Day ideas? These cookies are the perfect last minute treat- just pop a few in treat bags with some gold coins! And for a fun St. Patrick’s Day twist, we’ll be using rich, delicious Irish butter. Yumm. These coins also have a secret. Can you guess what’s behind the golden color?

lemon butter shortbread cookieslemon butter shortbread cookies

Turmeric! Turmeric is a spice that is used to create brilliant yellow pieces. It makes a great natural food coloring as well! You won’t taste the small amount in these cookies, but try to use stale turmeric over fresh (or leave it out for a day so the flavor weakens).

Irish Butter, Lemon Shortbread Cookies
1 c Kerrygold salted butter
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 c flour
1 T lemon zest
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
2 T lemon juice

Whisk flour, salt, lemon zest, and turmeric together. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the mixed dry ingredients from the first step and lemon juice on low speed until just incorporated.

Roll dough out to 1/4″ and chill for 30-45 minutes until it’s cold but still pliable. You want to chill it without it drying out.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350. Cut out your coin shapes with circle cutters. I added a coin ‘ridge’ by offsetting a smaller circle on my large ones and opted for a plain design on the smaller ones. Edible gold leaf or tiny shamrock sprinkles would be perfect for decorating too!

Bake for 10-12 minutes- just until the bottom edges of the cookies start to brown. Shortbread cookies should generally come out of the oven the same color they went in.

*If you want to use unsalted butter, add another 1/4 teaspoon salt to your dry mix.

lemon butter shortbread cookies

Real talk, these are so good. Like all shortbread cookies, the sweetness doesn’t hit you over the head so you don’t get tired of them. They start harmlessly light and fluffy and finish with a mouthwatering tartness that makes them perfect with Irish breakfast tea.

lemon butter shortbread cookies lemon butter shortbread cookies

Do you love themed food for St. Patrick’s Day? Tell me what you’re be making below!

lemon butter shortbread cookies

P.S. If you’re curious about the tea towel in the photos, I actually dyed it using the Double Tub Method from last week! Except instead of a moving bin, I used our bedroom trashcan haha. I was desperate and all the stores had already moved on to Easter.

Celebrate - Eat

French (3) Quarters, Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

February 22, 2017

French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

Cocktails and Mardi Gras naturally go hand-in-hand, but can we take it really over the top with a punny party trick drink? Oh yes. We can.

The French (3) Quarters is a twist on the classic French 75, making use of a vibrant purple, blackberry lavender syrup that turns a party pink when mixed! Pair it on your bar cart with green champagne bottles & gold accents and you’ve got yourself a true Mardi Gras set up.

French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

So there are two ways to make the focal ingredient, the blackberry lavender syrup. Method 2 just has an extra step for a slightly different taste and possibly more convenient if you don’t have culinary lavender but do have lavender tea. Method 1 tastes more like infused sugar and Method 2 is more delicate like really good lavender ice cream. I would recommend trying both. Let me know your favorite!

Blackberry Lavender Syrup Method 1
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup gently crushed blackberries
1-2 tsps culinary lavender

1| Combine water, sugar, blackberries, and lavender in saucepan.

2| Bring to simmer over medium-high heat and stir until sugar dissolves.

3| Strain the syrup through a double mesh strainer.

4| Transfer to an airtight glass container and let completely cool before using.

Blackberry Lavender Syrup Method 2
1-2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup gently crushed blackberries
1 lavender tea satchel

1 | Brew lavender tea according to directions or simmer 1 T of culinary lavender for 10 minutes.

2| Transfer 1 cup of tea to saucepan and add sugar & blackberries. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves.

3| Strain and transfer to a glass container. Let completely cool before using.

French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

The French (3) Quarters
1/2 oz simple syrup
1-1.5 oz gin
spritz of lemon juice
2 oz Champagne or sparkling wine

1| Shake simple syrup, gin, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.

2| Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top with Champagne. Watch the purple turn bright pink!

3| Garnish with blackberry & lemon twist.

French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

French (3) Quarters Tips:
Make the syrup ahead of time! Infused simple syrups can keep ~1 month in the fridge.

Use a London Dry Gin– by definition they are all natural and don’t have any extra flavoring or sugars that could clash with the syrup.

French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras CocktailFrench 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

If you made it all the way to the end, you’ve earned a confession- this drink was supposed to be purple. *shameface* But with more digging I’ve noticed:
a) purple cocktail syrup recipes usually just show the syrup, not mixed into anything!
b) purple cocktails use of Blue Curacao
c) blueberries might make it more purple, but the colors are wildly all over the place and I couldn’t tell if they were natural, Photoshop, or good old-fashioned food dye.

French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

C’est la vie. Now I actually love the surprise of the dark purple turning pink and it tastes great anyways, so it all works out 😉

French 75 Blackberry Lavender Mardi Gras Cocktail

If you’re looking for another easy yet impressive crowd pleaser, check out the Cara Cara Citrus Syrup and Cara Cara Mint Smash Cocktail from last year. That one is easily my go-to drink at home on a warm day.

How are you celebrating Mardi Gras this year?

Celebrate - Create

DIY Foraged Evergreen Bouquet

December 19, 2016

evergreen bouquet

The absence of a Christmas tree will do things to a person. As I mentioned in the Holiday Wall Art post Michael and I are going home to Florida for 2 weeks. We couldn’t justify buying a tree, setting it up, fussing over ornaments (that one’s on me) for such a short Holiday season in the apartment. And so the free trimmings a la Home Depot became my outlet. A couple branches as garland, a few as gift toppers, and now a seasonal bouquet that will last us until we leave!

evergreen bouquet

Taking a snowy walk to gather supplies might have been the most fun part. Michael and I just went up and down a few parks with a tote bag and gardening shears and started collecting anything that looked interesting. Double check you’re not taking plants from someone’s private property or that you’re grabbing anything poisonous! Apartment Therapy has a good technique for cleaning your finds afterwards.

evergreen bouquet

evergreen trimmings
foraged clippings
floral wire/tape
tissue paper

1| Lay your evergreen trimmings on a sheet of tissue paper with the paper’s corner pointing ‘up’. I used a mix of Douglas and Blue Pine from Home Depot’s trimming bin (trimmings are free near their tree cutting area).

2| Layer your other finding throughout the main bunch. Stemmed pieces won’t need anything extra, but small things like berries or pinecones can be attached with floral wine or tape. Hot glue also works great on pinecones in a pinch!

3| Follow the 3 step folding technique demonstrated below, making sure that the bottom of the bouquet is right up against the first fold to ensure the arrangement is snug in the wrapping.

4| Tie together with twine and there you go!

foraged evergreen bouquet

I’ve made a few for hostess gifts and put one bouquet in a vase with water and small ornaments for our apartment. The trimmings make a perfect mini tree and help carry the holiday scents throughout the house.

evergreen bouquetevergreen bouquet

foraged evergreen bouquet

Celebrate - Create

Simple + Modern DIY Holiday Wall Art

December 8, 2016

holiday wall art

This year Michael and I are only going to be in our apartment half of December. While we’re excited to be spending time with our families, it’s hard to get invested in decorating our own little nest for Christmas knowing that it won’t be enjoyed. And so today’s post was born! I’ve been looking for quick, cheap, and easy ways to get corners of the place Santa ready. Switch out some of your wall art with me to turn your holidaze back into happy holidays.

holiday wall art

Sharpie Paint Pen
large art paper

I love this Sharpie paint pen! It’s beautifully opaque and doesn’t crinkle the paper like other paint pens. Just make sure to follow the pen directions to get the paint flowing evenly.

Practice a few strokes on a scrap piece of paper. Have fun layering different strokes together for a dynamic look. I laid out real fir branches on my paper for composition and form inspiration then just got to it! Though it’s in a frame now,  I might be reusing this as wrapping paper at the end of the month.

holiday wall artholiday wall art

Holiday Expert Pro Tip: Get free tree trimmings from your local Home Depot in the garden section! Try to get there early because they clear out fast. They make great garland- throw them on any flat, mantle-like surface in your apartment to get the place smelling amazing.

Celebrate - Create

DIY Skeleton Fingers + Halloqueen Crown

October 25, 2016

halloqueen crown

This week’s Halloween diy might be my favorite yet! With an easy to make crown, you can go from Ghoul Next Door to Halloqueen faster than you can say Hocus Pocus.

skeleton finger

Skeleton Fingers
First you’ll need to make some skeleton fingers. I ultimately used them for the Halloqueen crown, but I could also see these being perfect table decor or festive plant tags. 

aluminum foil
coarse paintbrush
white + black paint

1| Roll up and mold a piece of foil to roughly a finger shape & size. Something tube shaped that tapers off towards the tip is perfect!

2| Wrap the foil in clay. The foil core will keep the finger light and easy to mold while creating the shape.

3| After the foil has been completely covered, carve out rough knuckle lines.

4| To add a little something extra to the fingers, create ridges along the top of the fingers and towards the knuckle joints with a ‘pinching together’ motion.

5| Bake/dry according to clay directions. If you’re planning on stringing these or attaching them elsewhere, pierce the fingers with wire before drying.

6| Once cooled, paint the fingers with the same layered stippling technique used in the faux stone skulls diy.

skeleton fingerskeleton fingerskeleton finger skeleton finger skeleton finger skeleton finger
halloqueen crown

Halloqueen Crown
With the skeleton fingers done, on to the pumpkin on top! Using a thick wire base, this crown can easily be adapted for any event. I went for silk flowers over real ones a) because white roses are impossible to find in Chicago b) my hot glue gun is bae c) all this work and I can wear it for years to come. But if any florist in the area wants to collaborate for a Thanksgiving of Christmas crown….

12 gauge wire (in your hair color)
skeleton fingers
silk flowers
hot glue

1| Gently bend the wire into an open circlet, curling the ends inward to avoid them poking into your head later. The crown is more flexible in a circlet form so you don’t have to worry about fit as much. I thread 2 bobby pins into the end circles to make the crown stay put, but you could also loop ribbon through and tie it off.

2| To support the fingers, add another piece of wire bent into a semi circle. Hot glue the joints to keep it standing up.

3| Using the wire inserted into the fingers before baking, twist tie each finger to the base and hot glue from the back to the support form.

4| With all the fingers attached, time for the flowers! There was no method here- I just cut and glued a bunch of black crysthanamum flowers I found in Michael’s Halloween section to the base and then to each other to get the full look.

halloqueen crown halloqueen crown halloqueen crownhalloqueen crownhalloqueen crown

Tada! Some Halloween magic for you. Hang tight for the accompanying makeup look this Thursday to really bring it all together.