Red Velvet Cupcakes

I promise this is the LAST post from the bridal shower!  As a thank you for attending the bridal shower, Elizabeth (amazing bridesmaid who helped bake desserts and cohost the shower) baked these red velvet cupcakes and placed them in mason jars for each guest, while I simply packaged them with a spoon, label, and twine.  Yep, I got off easy on this task.  Since I wasn’t actually the preparer of said dessert, I unfortunately do not have step-by-step pictures to accompany the instructions, but luckily our creative idea source over at Cakies has extremely helpful pictures if you need them!  The best part about this recipe is that you can simply make the delicious cupcakes and frosting and decorate them like normal cupcakes!

Ingredients:

for the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract

for the cream cheese frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Directions:

for the cupcakes:
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.  Spray the cupcake pan with Pam and fill each 2/3 full with batter.  Bake in oven for about 17-20 minutes at 350 degrees turning the pans once, half way through.  Remove from oven and let cool five minutes before removing and letting cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

for the frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low-speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

for the mason jars:
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, slice them in half creating a stack of tops and bottoms.  Place 1 bottom in each mason jar followed by a layer of frosting.  Take the top of the cupcake and place on top of the layer of frosting.  Gently smash the top into inside the jar to create a flat surface on top.  Add another layer of frosting, cover with lids, and package however you would like!

Packaging Supplies Used:

Ball 8 Ounce Mason Jar
Birchware Compostable Wooden Spoons
Avery Print-to-the-Edge Round Labels in Kraft
Regency Baker’s Twine in Red

**Source:  Original Cupcakes Recipe, Updated Recipe and Mason Jars**

Thrifty Threads: Colored Denim

COLOR is definitely spring trend numero uno this year.  All colors of the rainbow and every color in between can be found stocked at stores everywhere in both women’s and men’s departments as well as home decor and kitchen sections.  Even Target is focusing their marketing around sprucing up your life with pops of bright color:

One of the easiest, most affordable ways to incorporate spring’s color trend into your wardrobe is with colored denim.  Whether dressed up with a blazer or worn casually with striped, bright, button-up, or sweater tops, colored denim easily brightens up your neutrals and makes an eye-catching statement.  Turn up the color in your life for under fifty dollars with one of these colorful bottoms.  Which color would you most love to rock?

REDHollister Super Skinny Denim $49.50 in Red, White, Turquoise, and Denim

ORANGEForever 21 Whiskered Skinny Jeans $24.90 in Orange and Aqua

YELLOWTarget Mossimo Supply Co. Juniors Skinny Denim $22.99 in Buttercup, Blue, Green, Lemon, Magenta, Pale Pink, Pink, Purple, Teal, White

GREENMiss Elfridge Skinny Jeans $35 in Green, Purple, Toffee

BLUECharlotte Russe Skinny Jean $29.99 in Royal, White, Pink, Teal, Coral, Red, Turquoise

AQUADorothy Perkins Super Skinny Jeans $44 (on sale for $35 now) in Aqua, Orange, and Lilac

VIOLETOld Navy The Rock Star Colored Super Skinny Jeans $34.94 in Purple, Green, Blue, Pink

WHITEKohl’s Juniors’ Unionbay Skinny Jeans $48 (on sale for $29.99) in White, Black, Cobalt, Cortez Blue, Sandy Brown, Valentino

LIGHT PINKAmerican Eagle Skinny Jean $44.50 in Pink Dust, Putty Brown, Poppy Orange, Peacock Blue, Yellow Zest, Lavendar Thistle, Maui Teal, Dock Pink

BRIGHT PINKZara Skinny Trousers with Zips $49.90 in Pink, Green, Black, White, Aquamarine

Pinspiration: PomPoms

PomPoms are EVERYWHERE right now in party planning and home decor:

Inspired by all the gorgeous PomPoms out there, I decided to order three large, three medium, and four small poms for the bridal shower from Sevyn Designs on Etsy in yellow, blue, and green.  Coral and Hailee from Sevyn Designs were amazing.  Not only did they respond quickly to every single one of my questions and have the PomPoms to me in plenty of time, but they also included step-by-step instructions and a sweet handwritten thank you note.  Rare to receive such great service!  The incredibly easy assembly and hanging of the poms would definitely lead me to utilize these trendy decorations again in the future.  Want to try some for yourself or your next party?  Check out Sevyn Designs on Etsy and put in promotion code thread10 to receive 10% off your order through the end of April! Awesome, right?!

        

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Lay PomPom out in front of you.  Cut string to desired length and double knot onto the metal loop.

Step 2:  Fan the PomPom out on both sides.

Step 3:  Starting with one side of the PomPom, gently pull each layer away from the center.  Repeat five times on each side then rotate.

Step 4:  Use your fingers to fluff petals and create even spacing between layers until your PomPom is petal perfect.

Step 5:  Hang PomPoms at varying heights wherever you would like (above tables or cribs, in windows, centerpieces, in bedrooms, etc).

Feta-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Last night I was completely and randomly in the mood for this Lemon-Feta Chicken recipe.  I mean the feta was screaming my name as I drooled just thinking about it.  Unfortunately since it was already six o’clock and I didn’t have two hours to spare while the chicken breasts marinated, I decided to try this feta-stuffed chicken recipe from Better Homes and Gardens that still included the feta I was craving with added bonuses of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.  Let’s just say from now on I will be keeping my kitchen stocked with feta, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes for easy preparation of this amazingly healthy meal (only four weight watcher points) that took less than thirty minutes and was absolutely delicious.  Probably having it again next week, not gonna lie.

Prep Time     10 Minutes
Bake Time    12-15 Minutes
Makes           4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup feta
2 tbsp softened fat-free cream cheese
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Place tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let stand 10 minutes, drain, and pat dry.  In a small bowl, combine the feta, cream cheese, tomatoes, and basil.  Pepper the chicken and cut a horizontal pocket in the top of each chicken breast without going all the way through.  Place chicken pocket side down in a single layer in a skillet of hot oil over medium-high heat.  Cook 6 minutes.  Turn chicken so pocket side is facing up.  Fill the pocket with the feta cream cheese mixture and continue to cook chicken until no longer pink, about 6 additional minutes.  Garnish with extra basil and serve with pasta noodles or a salad.

**Recipe Source:  BHG**

Bridal Shower Games

Attempting to eliminate the completion of embarrassing tasks and the requirement to know everything about the bride/groom, I chose two classic games with a bridal twist: Bridal Shower Scattergories, in which guests brainstorm creative answers to ten questions concerning a wedding, and Bridal Bingo, where prior to opening presents guests fill out a Bingo board with gifts they think the bride may receive.  In order to provide each guest a solid surface to write on without having to pass out all my favorite magazines, I simply attached each Scattergories game with double sided tape to white foam board, cut it to size using a utility knife, placed the Bridal Bingo game on top, attached a pencil through a white ribbon bow, and placed them all in a basket for easy distribution!  What games do you love and/or hate to play at bridal showers? 

Step 1:  Using double-sided tape, attach each Scattergories game board to white foam board.

Step 2:  Using a utility knife and a straight edge, cut each game board to size.

Step 3:  Place the BINGO game on top and attach with a white ribbon making sure to tie in a pencil as well!

Step 4:  Place all games in a basket or crate to make distribution of the games easier!

Leather and Leopard

I swear I have never in my life worn so much leopard or red for that matter, must be the effects of having a blog that makes you step outside your comfort zone.  To answer a reader request for me to actually wear the suggested outfit from this post, I put together something similar that included items already in my closet: swapping the statement red color from the bottom to the top and adding a leather jacket to adjust for the cool March weather.  This outfit was perfectly comfortable for our daytime activities of running errands and finally seeing The Hunger Games yet dressy enough for a nighttime of steak dinner at Caminito Argentinian Grill and a birthday party.

{Express (Minus the) Leather Moto Jacket, gifted | Zara blouse, $39 (similar here) | Forever 21 Scarf, $12 (old) & Jeans, $10.50 | Steve Madden Leopard Flats, $22 (similar here) | Wilson’s Leather Black Purse, $19 | Michael Kors Jet Set Sport Watch, gifted | H&M Gold Bracelets, $9}

Weekly Rewind

Assembling wedding invitations and the blooming of flowers everywhere brought upon the realization of how quickly the future is approaching where as settling in with a good book, catching up on precious sleep, finding a lucky penny with my year of birth, and stumbling upon favorite pens from middle school brought upon the realization of how fast time flies and how quickly we forget to soak up and appreciate those few moments of solitude.

         

         

         

Almond Cookies with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and Raspberries

Sugar cookies…amazing.  Almond flavored sugar cookies…BOMB.COM.  This recipe (found here and here) perfectly combines two individual recipes that could stand completely alone:  you could simply make the almond cookies and top with store bought frosting or make the frosting to add to other cookie recipes or for dipping your fruit into (Justin’s favorite option).  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

for the cookies:
1 package Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 tbsp flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1/2 cup almonds, crushed
1/2 tsp pure almond extract

for the frosting:
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 – 8 oz packages 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
red food coloring (optional)
1 container raspberries

Directions:

for the cookies:
In a stand mixer, mix the sugar cookies according the package directions.  Add the crushed almonds (I crushed my almonds by placing them in a bag and hitting them with a hammer) and almond extract to the dough; stir until combined.  Roll the dough onto a floured surface, about 3/4 inch thick.  Using a small circle cutter, or shot glass in my case, dipped in flour cut out circles.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  Let cool 2 minutes on pan and then place on a baking rack to cool completely.

for the frosting:
Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until fluffy.  Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, powdered sugar, and vanilla; beat until smooth and light.  Add optional food coloring.  Frost the cookies and place a raspberry on top after the cookies have completely cooled.

**Recipe Source:  Dwell on Joy**

Thrifty Threads: Color Blocking Blazer

Blazers are a key item in my closet ranging from black and navy classics to red, white, and gray trendier versions.  My all time favorite blazers due to their fit, style, price tag, and ability to classy-up any outfit are by Silence & Noise and found at Urban Outfitters.  While perusing the sale section of Urban’s online store, I stumbled across this color blocking blazer.  Due to my love for dark colors, I was immediately drawn to the black and grey color combo at first but in the end the tan and neutral combination won my heart for its fresh, neutral palette perfect for spring.  The ultimate question?  Do I pull the trigger click the mouse and actually purchase?  What does any normal retail confused girl do?  Ask the girlfriends to weigh in.  Kate so cleverly asked the most important question when purchasing a new item:  What are two ways you can incorporate it with clothes you already own right now?  Here’s my answer:

What do you think?  Should I add this color blocking blazer to my spring wardrobe? Can you think of any other outfit combinations??  A light mint dress or pants would work well too, but I just don’t own those..well at least for now.