the beautiful things

{things i made} chocolate guinness cupcakes with bailey’s frosting

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St. Patrick's Day has just as many food-based rituals in my family as practically every other holiday even though we're not at all Irish. It's definitely a yummy one. The corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and soda bread are all so good, I try to make time for them throughout the entire year. This dessert combines another two stellar Irish staples: Guinness stout and Bailey's cream liquor. It's incredible how well the two rich flavors complement the dark chocolate. It's are another tradition in the making for sure!

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1 cup stout​, such as ​Guinness
3/4 cup olive oil, minus 3 tablespoons
3tablespoons maple syrup
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line pans with paper liners. Combine the stout and oil in a medium saucepan. Heat, then add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt until creamy.
3. Add the stout mixture to the egg mixture . Whisk in the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. For frosting: whisk 1 cup strained Greek yogurt , 1 teaspoon vanilla extract , 1 teaspoon Bailey's liquor (optional), and 1/2 C powered sugar. Refrigerate to thicken (at least 30 minutes), then spread on cupcakes and decorate with cake crumbs as desired. Yields 12 cupcakes.

 

{things i wore} leather vest

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When I'm feeling casual, nothing beats rummaging in my closet and finding pieces that match my mood. These jeans are currently my favorite pair (I could sleep in them they're so comfy) and this shirt is so well-made it's like not wearing anything when you have it on (which is a good thing, I swear). This leather vest was an impulse buy–it's buttery soft and felt just right on so I didn't want to pass it up, plus I liked how its leather is purposefully wrinkled. My love of wearing dark colors (mostly black) is well-documented, but as temperatures warm, I'm gravitating towards softer, less harsh shades (I'm looking at you little gray Rockie!).

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Long Sleeve Shirttail Tee, Vince [$120 similar]; Crinkled Leather Moto Vest, Halogen [$258]Boy Jean, American Eagle [similar]; ; The Sammie Boot, Madewell  [$238];  Rockie Mesh Small Crossbody Satchel in Exhaust, Alexander Wang [$695];Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44]; Bezet band ring in yellow gold, Tiffany & Co.; Paloma Picasso "Sugar Stack" 18K Gold & Peridot Ring, Tiffany & Co.; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400];  "In Stiches" Nails, Essie

{things i learned} there where you are

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[in love with this retro lindt packaging]

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[my boyfriend's very brief stint at fashion blogging, aka when he's busy photographing things other than me]

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[influenster's #RefreshVoxBox, so perfect for spring]

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[a cheeky iphone case]

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[i want to steal this 'smores cupcake decorating idea]

 

This weekend may be rainy, but it's the first one in a long time that I can truly say is warm(ish). Spring is just around the corner and I can't wait to get outside a little (you know, rather than run from building to car to building screaming how much the air hurts every piece of exposed skin). I'm counting down to my favorite annual sartorial milestone: the first time I can comfortably wear a maxi dress for a day out. I'm thinking I'll have to wait till April, but that's just around the corner so I've got a reason to smile. 

 

{things i covet} embellished skinny belts

PicMonkey Collage PicMonkey Collage2Some springtime belt inspiration…

 

{top to bottom}

Swarovski pearl-embellished silk and tulle belt, Sophia Kokosalaki [$410]

Bow-embellished patent-leather waist belt, Mui Miu [$290]

Skinny gold-tone and leather belt, Lanvin [$595]

Waist belt in gold-tone brass, Givenchy [$2550]

 

{things i made} coconut banana bread

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Banana breads are deceptively complicated to get right. Finding the perfect balance between the natural sweetness of ripe bananas and added sugar is tough, as it avoiding a leaden finished product that's also characteristically dense and moist. I also find add-ins tough: walnuts are great, but what about some slightly more out-of-the-box flavors combinations? I'm very happy to say that this recipe works–the coconut and orange are unexpected bonus but perfectly delicious. 

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1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 Large ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup + 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup of brown sugar
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons skim milk
¼ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda together in mixing bowl.
2. 
In separate large mixing bowl combine mashed bananas, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg whites and mix together until smooth. Next add oil. Then, slowly add in flour and combine until moist. Next add Greek yogurt and orange juice. Lastly add ½ cup of coconut and mix together.
3. 
Pour into greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle two tablespoons of coconut on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and the bread is golden brown.

{things i wore} terry sweatshirt

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When I was dating my boyfriend for less than a year, we took a trip to MoMA in New York. The gift shop there was a lot of fun, with random, funky designer items. I spotted a tiny stuffed piglet with wings (when pigs fly!) and my boyfriend insisted he get it for me. It was one of the first spontaneous things he'd ever bought me and for a while afterwards, he continued to buy me small plushes with wings (the more oddly paired, the better) whenever we traveled. Recently, he started picking me up shirts with French sayings (another random collection to make, I know), but he says when he sees them he thinks of me and smiles, and I do the same when receiving and wearing them. This is one of my favorites–it's so soft and cozy, I never want to take it off.

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Mon Cheri cotton-terry sweatshirt, J.Crew [$65]; Boy Jean, American Eagle [similar]; Neverfull MM in Monogram Canvas, Louis Vuitton [shop]; Cotu Classic Sneakers, Superga [$65]; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44];  X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; 14k Yellow Mini White Diamond Evil Eye Ring, Sydney Evan [$465]; Round Cut Studs with Tension Back and Filigree Setting (0.84 cts. each) in White Gold, c/o Diamond Nexus [$249]; Mini Number Bracelet, Yellow Gold Maya Brenner [$200]; Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard Bracelet in Yellow Gold, Tiffany & Co. [$700] // Essie 'Forever Yummy'​"Berry Naughty" Nails, Essie

 

{things i learned} the only heaven i’ll be sent to

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[in love with my new maya brenner bracelet and its very special number]

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[hopefully we've seen the last of these hazy winter days for a while]

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[after vanilla, raspberry macaroons are my favorite flavor]

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[reed diffusers, my newest obsession]

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[no-fail appetizer no matter the place or the time]

 

As winter starts to slowly slip away (this has been a cold and rough one), I'm getting excited for new things–like a wardrobe and foodie refresh. Here are some of my favorites this week. Happy Friday!

 

{things i shopped} countertop kitchen appliances

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Even in a large kitchen, counter space is at a premium. You can't have too many appliances lingering or else food prep will be a logistical nightmare. I still (!) bake without a stand mixer, but here are four other gadgets I can't live without.

 

{clockwise}

Juice Fountain Plus Electric Juicer, Breville [$149.99] – I never thought I'd be into juicing, but nothing beats a freshly-made fruit/veggie drink. I've loved every recipe I've tried with this model, which is fairly easily to clean and attractive–a very good thing since it's a behemoth.

 Spice & Nut Grinder, Cuisinart [$75 $39.95] – I used a small grinder for a lot of things, like spice blends, nuts, and coffee beans, though I most frequently take it out to break down whole grains to add to my white flour.

2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender, Kitchen Aid  [$39.99] – This little tool is a must-have. I use it for everything from pureeing soups (so much easier than transferring to a blender) to smoothies to emulsifying homemade mayo and salad dressings.

12-Cup Elite Food Processor, Cuisinart [$365 $199] – I don't keep my food processor out but I use it a lot. It's more powerful than a blender and invaluable when making lots of dips, marinades, doughs, and fillings.

 

{things i covet} try, buy, spy

 

try

buy spy

{try}

blow-dryer hacks for freezing temperatures [learn]

how to create the healthiest, most cost-effective salad-bar salad [learn]

a descendant breakfast treat: nutella-filled french toast [drool]

{buy}

'Pure' Embroidered Square Accent Pillow, DKNY [$59.99]

14K White & Yellow Gold Sylvie Rose Mini Bar Necklace with Diamonds, Dana Rebecca Designs [$220]

Le Marc Lip Crème​ in Mahogany, Marc Jacobs Beauty [$30]

{spy}

the origin of the printing process behind the modern paperback [read]

fun photos of high fashion in a freezing nyc [shiver]

an instgram account with a pun-based food map of the united states [laugh]

{things i made} crispy thin-cut oven french fries

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I love potatoes: fried, boiled, or baked, sliced, diced, or chopped, white, red, or purple, I've never met a preparation or variety I didn't like. There's nothing simpler or tastier than roughly cutting up a few pounds of them (yay for leftovers), throwing them in the oven with some salt, pepper and olive oil and letting heat and time do its beautiful thing. This recipe is a bit more refined and the result is a crispier, thinner fry that's more like a fast-food side-dish than a rustic wedge. The trick here is using the microwave, paper towels, and cornstarch to pull out moisture, steps that are a little time-consuming but very worth it.

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4 medium sized russet potatoes
⅓ cup oil, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
pepper, herbs, spices, or other toppings, as desired

1. Scrub potatoes and peel if desired. Cut the potatoes into 1/4"-1/2" thick fries. Place the potatoes in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5-7 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and let the fries drain on several layers of paper towels.
2. Move the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat to 425ºF. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil, using the rest to grease a metal baking sheet with sides. Put the pan in the oven to heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the reserved oil, cornstarch, and salt. Blot the cooled fries dry with more paper towels and then put them into the bowl. Gently toss to coat the fries with the cornstarch mixture.
4. Once the oven is very hot and the oil on the sheet pan is barely starting to smoke, pull the rack out to access the pan and carefully pour the fries onto the heated pan, moving them into a single layer. Cook
for 15 minutes, then flip the fries and cook again for another 20 minutes or more until golden brown and crispy. Immediately re-season and serve.

 




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