Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest Post: "My Dream Spring Break" on La Vie...J'aime

My friend Jaime asked me to write a guest post for her while she is away on vacation in Miami (jealous!). 

The topic: "My Dream Spring Break"

I obviously gave myself and unlimited budget because what dream spring break comes with a budget?!

Check it out here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Visit to Sweet Cupcakes

I was recently invited to pop into Sweet and check out some of their new winter flavor cupcakes. Poor me right?

Sweet has a few Boston locations but I work downtown so during my lunch break I walked over to their 11 School St. location. 

Their shop is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen! With a prime spot on Boston's famous Freedom Trail, their bright and airy shop draws you in with the smell of freshly baked cupcakes wafting through the air.

Their cases are full of every flavor of cupcake you could dream up with tons of bright, eye-catching colors. I have got to try the Mocha Mint Chip my next visit!

How cute are these Celtics and Bruin's cupcakes? They would be a great addition if you were having people over to watch the game!

If you don't want in indulge in a full size cupcake Sweet offers miniature versions of some of their famous flavors. This is another great option for a party or to bring to an office celebration because it gives you so much variety.

If you thought the creativity stopped at the mini's you are wrong! Sweet is known to have possibly the best cupcake frosting in Boston and you can taste test for yourself with one of Sweet's frosting shots. Genius!

Here are a few photos of the rest of their shop including the current flavors and pricing. They even deliver!

I love the simplicity of their packaging.

As I mentioned before I was given the new winter flavors to try and not only were they tasty but so beautiful to look at at as well!

Top row left to right: Blueberry Pancake, Bananas Foster, Macaroon

Bottom row left to right: Cookie Dough, Hot Cocoa, Key Lime

While all were really good my absolute favorite had to be the Hot Cocoa. Adorable with the red stirrer sticking out of it and made with a dark chocolate cake, chocolate mousse inside and whipped cream dusted with cocoa.

The runner up was the Blueberry Pancake which was a buttermilk cake, stuffed with blueberry preserves and topped with maple frosting. It tasted JUST like a blueberry pancake.

If you are into chocolate chip cookies check out the Cookie Dough cupcake which has a chocolate chip cookie baked right on the bottom of the cupcake. If bananas are your thing grab a Bananas Foster made with vanilla bean cake filled with fresh banana cream and topped with a caramel drizzle and a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.

Want to tele-port down to Key West in these cold winter months? Take a bite out of the Key Lime cupcake with vanilla cake filled with fresh Key lime filling, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with crushed graham crackers. Or go coconut with the Macaroon cupcake made of vanilla bean cake with coconut baked right in and a crisp macaroon cookie-like top, dipped in Callebaut chocolate ganache.

I hope you get a chance to check out one of Sweet's boston locations and try these out for yourself!

You can find Sweet at these locations:

Back Bay: 49 Massachusetts Ave.
Newbury Street: 225 Newbury St.
Harvard Square: Zero Brattle Street
Downton: 11 School Street

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala

Last weekend I was lucky enough to score 2 tickets to the TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala. This was an event I have wanted to attend over the past few years so I was really excited to have the opportunity to check it out. I called up my sister and off we went!

First stop was the bar of course! They had one station for wine and beer and another for cocktails. 

My sister got white wine while I chose Skyy Blood Orange Vodka with soda water. It was light and refreshing. 

The event was put on by Tillinger's Hospitality Company.

One of the major parts of the night was a charity auction for Horizons for Homeless Children where they auctioned off great prizes such as tickets to Boston sporting events as well as luxury booth tickets to see Justin Bieber.

Horizons for Homeless Children is a fantastic charity that improves the lives of young homeless children in Massachusetts. They help their families succeed by providing high-quality early education, opportunities for play, and comprehensive family support services.

Billy Costa (one of the  TV Diner hosts) and Matt Siegel of Kiss 108 MC'd the auction which was really cool - we grew up listening to them!

I would say we tried about a 1/4 of the food offered but that is only because there were SO many great options to choose from we had to narrow it down somehow.

Our favorite was a hand made pasta with pulled duck and peas from Andiamo. It was so good we are both desperately wanting to take the drive to Newburyport to have dinner there!

Next was beef sliders from Mooo.... I liked this different take on a slider and the buns on these were so tasty!

The guys from Turner Fisheries we very busy searing scallops which they served with a vegetable chip and micro greens. The scallop was seared perfectly.

And here are just a few more images of delicious food...

Gnocchi bolognese

Steak skewers with potato

Tuna Tartare and Chicken and Waffles from Local 149

Tasty Burger

The TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala cake

TV Diner puts on a great event and you could tell everyone who attended was having a great time! I love how enthusiastic the different chefs and restaurants were and the band was great - they had a packed dance floor as soon as the auction ended! 

I really hope to have the opportunity to attend this event again next year!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pinterest Faves: Week of 2/17/13 - 2/23/13

This week there was so many good pins on Pinterest I have six pins to share instead of my typical top 5!

As I start to think about how I want to update my house I have been trying to decide on a color palette that will make everything look bright and fresh. I found this pin and was immediately inspired...I love the neutral scheme with a few light pastels mixed in. I already own a Organic Cotton Pintuck Sea Spray duvet from west elm so there is my light mint green...maybe a grey wall next?

Photo from Amateur Couture

I have a jar very similar to these in my bathroom that I hold my cotton balls and q-tips in but I never thought to glue them on top of candlesticks! I am on the hunt for 2 or 3 of them now so let me know if you come across any.

Candlestick Apothecary Jars from Teal & Lime

I am obsessed with this color it summer yet?

Neutral & Neon

And now for for the food...

I loved Golden Graham treats as a kid and I found this super easy make at home recipe that I will definitely be trying out soon!

S’mores Graham Krispie Treats from Wanna Be A Country Cleaver

 If you live in the South Boston neighborhood you are probably really excited about the opening of Foodie's Market. Finally we have a place to get higher quality meats, cheeses, and seafood. I can't wait to get my hands on some scallops and try out this recipe for Seared Scallops over Lemon-Ricotta pasta.

Seared Scallops over Lemon-Ricotta Pasta from Crumb

Need a really easy side dish? How about Parmesan & Spinach Orzo? I bet you have most, if not all, of the ingredients already at home and it is a great recipe to sneak veggies into.

Parmesan & Spinach Orzo from Life As A Strawberry

I hope you enjoyed my favorite Pinterest picks from this past week!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Featured Recipe: Sweet Basil's Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Candied Peanuts

I am happy to share another recipe from Chef Dave Becker of Sweet Basil located in Needham, MA. 

Taken right from Stewed, Chef Dave's newest cookbook, today's featured recipe is Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Candied Peanuts. A second in a trio of posts you will find here for the next few Thursday's centered around Sweet Basil and Chef Dave's Stewed cookbook, this recipe looks more intimating than it actually is.

So break out your largest stock pot and try this recipe out for yourself!

Photo credit: Nina Gallant

Sweet Basil's Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Candied Peanuts:

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup carrots, scrubbed, ½” dice
  • 1 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup celery, diagonally sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, halved
  • 1 or 2 really spicy peppers (such as bird’s beak chiles)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 ½ quarts Chicken Stock (page 72 of Stewed)
  • Meat of 1 Roasted Chicken, pulled (page 111 of Stewed)
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup snow peas


  • 6 sprigs chopped fresh cilantro
  • Candied Peanuts (page 23 of Stewed)
  • Chopped scallions

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil, and heat it until it begins to smoke. Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, and bird’s beak chiles (see note). Stir fry this combo for 1 minute, and then add the white wine. Bring the wine to a boil, and immediately add the rice vinegar, coconut milk, chicken stock, and the pulled chicken. Bring the soup to a boil, check for flavor, and season it with the salt and pepper. Add the snow peas, and remove from the heat.

To serve, evenly distribute the soup among serving bowls, and garnish with the cilantro,
Candied Peanuts, and scallions.

**Note from Chef Dave**

The bird’s beak chile is a Thai chile commonly used in Asian cuisine. These chiles are long and red and their heat intensifies when dried. On a hotness scale of one to ten, bird’s beak chiles fall at around an eight to nine.

When you add the bird’s beak chiles will depend on how spicy you’d like the soup. If you prefer a more rounded, mellow spice, add them in the beginning, with the vegetables. If you crave torture and like a good burn, cut them up and add them at the end.

Sweet Basil is located at 942 Great Plain Ave., Needham, MA 02492.

If you are interested in purchasing Chef Dave's newest cookbook, Stewed, or any of his cookbooks, you can find them here:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pinterest Faves: Week of 2/10/13 - 2/16/13

 I've been on a cookie kick lately and these might just be the next ones I bake:

Raspberry Thumbprints

I want this whole set for my kitchen:

Wooden Cooks Tools

This is actually a really easy way to make your nails look really cool!

Gradient Nails

Is it spring yet?

I found my next DIY project:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nutella Stuffed Funfetti Cookies

We got 20+ inches of snow this weekend... this happened.

If you love Funfetti cake I think you will be obsessed with the cookies! 

Sometimes the recipe is on the box but not always. If it's not on yours just go here. That is the original Funfetti cookie recipe that I normally top with Funfetti frosting and sprinkles.


I found this recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to try it out. They were really easy to make and I've included some tips on what I will do next time to make sure they are 100% perfect. The greatest thing about this recipe? You could really make any kind of cookie and put the Nutella filling in them and they would be delicious!


  • 1 box of Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Approximately 1/2 cup Nutella (about 1 teaspoon per cookie)

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil (or parchment paper). Scoop teaspoon size balls of Nutella onto the sheet. Freeze for about 20 minutes.

Next time I'm going to make my scoops a little smaller

When the 20 minutes is almost up pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Mix together the Funfetti mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.

Remove the Nutella from the freezer. 

With your hands, roll a walnut sized ball of dough and place a frozen Nutella ball into the center. Roll the dough ball in your hands until it is smooth and no Nutella is exposed. 

Place on the cookie sheet.

I sprayed my cookie sheet with non-stick spray but you can also use parchment paper

Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden. Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

They might look too soft when you pull the sheet from the oven but they are fully baked