Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pops

chocolate cookie pops
A simple and quick way to make  yummy chocolate chip cookie pops that I found from Family Circle Magazine.  Now isn't these adorable?
chocolate cookie pops-2
Printable recipe here Pin It

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weekend Highlights and Happy Spring

Morning and Happy Spring!  Isn't this the best time of the year?  I haven't been blogging for the  last couple days because the house work has been taking up the majority of it.  John and I have been busy finishing one of the major projects left, painting.   When we moved in this house 4 years ago, we knew painting was going to happen.  So far, we've painted master bedroom, guest bedroom, bathrooms and office.  This past weekend, we tackled the kitchen, living room and hallway.
After some debate, we settle on a nice dusty gray.  Its look absolutely amazing! (I'll have house update pics for you at so some point, I promise )

Until then, here are some photos I snap around my neighborhood.

dogwood flower
spring 2012
dogwood-2
spring-flower-2012

Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely week! Pin It

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Currently Lusting

spring must haves
1. Mac naturally mineralize
2. Chloe Marcie wallet
3. Zara court show with metal toe
4. Chanel perfume
5. Burberry sport watch
6. J brand skinny jeans

What are you lusting after?  
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pantry Makeover-Part I

One of my goal for 2012 is to be more organized! I always have good intentions but struggle with the follow through that real organization requires. This weekend I'm going to  tackle the messiest place in our house, the pantry.
My pantry has been pretty awful shape since we moved into this house 4 years ago.  It's a small pantry with some wire shelves.  But really it's got plenty of room for all our food and them some.  Problem is everything we tossed on the shelves when we moved in and I never went back to make sense it all.  Months, years went by things got worse.

Here's the before...brace yourself:  Pictures taken with iPhone

Pantry Makeover



The plan:
1. Remove wire shelves
2. Paint the walls a gorgeous Tiffany blue
3. Add these white shelves that we have laying around in the basement
3. Use my recycle jars as storage
4. I've already purchase this stripe storage bin for miscellaneous items
5. Love these narrow canisters for storage

Check back next week for the update :) Pin It

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pink Grapefruit Margaritas

Pink grapefruit margaritas-1
What a better way to welcome Spring with a pretty and refreshing pink grapefruit margarita? I'm always searching for a new cocktail to serve at dinner or party.  This drink has all the right notes that I'm looking for- sweet, salty, and tart.  Definitely my new favorite drink.  Enjoy!
Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
1/2 lime cut in wedges
Kosher salt
1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1/4 cup triple sec
3 freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups ice
1/2 cup white tequila
Makes 4 drinks

Method:
Rub the lime around the edge of each glass and then dip the rim lightly in a plate of kosher salt.  Set aside let to dry.
Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec, and ice in a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Pour into a large pitcher and stir in the tequila.
Serve ice cold.
Pink grapefruit margaritas-3
Pink grapefruit margaritas Pin It

Friday, March 16, 2012

Insta.Life

Just thought I'd share some tidbits of my life, via instagram.
Hope you have a delightful Friday + St.Patty's Day! :)












      

1.  date night w/ hubby tonight
2.  cake pops @ starbucks
3.  jcrew mona suede pumps in retro lemon
4.  some of my faves nail polishes
5.  cookie pops--recipe on the blog next week
6.  coral+ chevron+glitters= umm, yes please!
7.  what I wore last Sunday: target jeans/target nude pumps/ hm blazer/hm blouse
8.  jcrew mona leather pumps in brick red

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sushi Rice & California Roll

California Roll
Have you ever wanted to make sushi, but didn't because it seemed too intimidating?  That was me for a while.  As it turns out, it's not scary.  Sushi is simple, fun, healthy and cheap to make. Can you believe this is my first time making it at home? Highly recommend the homemade sushi making to do with friends or a date.  Prepare the rice before your guests arrive!
delish
Here are some tips for making sushi at home:
1. Make sure you prepare the rice 2 hours ahead- so the rice have enough time to cool.
2. Cut up your ingredients when rice is cooling.
3. Lay all ingredients around you--so its easy to reach when you're making sushi.
4. Make sure all your surroundings are clean and dry.
5. Ingredients and equipment can be found at Japanese and Asian markets as well as most large grocery stores.  I did a large amount of reading on how to make sushi before attempting my first ones. Sushi making does require a small amount of initial practice.  Don't be afraid to try!  You can use the techniques for making the California Rolls to make other variations with different fillings as sushi rolls are very versatile and you can make endless varieties.  Be creative!
Printable Recipe
California Roll

Ingredients:
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1/4 thick pieces (squeeze the lemon juice over the avocado to prevent browning)
1 package of good quality unseasoned sheet nori
1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
tobiko (flying fish roe) optional
4 crab sticks, torn into pieces
sushi rice, recipe follows
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchstick-size pieces
pickled ginger
bamboo sushi mat
plastic wrap
wasabi
soy sauce

Sushi Rice:
2 cups sushi rice ( Japanese short grained rice)
2 cups cold water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Put the rice in a strainer and wash until the water running off is mostly clear. If you have a rice cooker, add rice and water into the rice cooker and set on a long cook cycle. Otherwise, place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring it to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it stand, covered for 10 minutes.
Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt into a small bowl and heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large glass, or plastic bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before using for sushi

Directions:

Cover a bamboo rolling mat with plastic wrap.  Start by folding each sheet of nori in half making a crease. If you have a good nori, it should break in half at the crease.  Have all your ingredients in front of you. Get a bowl of water to dip your hand in.  You'll need to keep your hands wet, otherwise rice will start sticking to them.  Lay 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the plastic covered mat.   Wet your fingers with water and spread about 1/2 cup of the rice evenly onto the nori.  Make sure you get the sushi all the way to the edges of all four sides.
 Spread a couple spoonfuls of tobiko onto the rice.  If you're not using tobiko, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on the rice.  Carefully, turn the sheet of nori over so that the rice side is down.  Place cucumber, avocado, crab sticks in center of the sheet.
Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a cylinder, using the mat to shape the cylinder.  Once you have it rolled all the way, wrap the mat around it and give it a squeeze to give it a nice round shape .
 Pull away the mat and set aside.   Repeat until all of the rice has been used.  Using a very sharp knife cut each roll into 6 pieces.  Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.
yum, yum
california roll-3
California roll-2

What's your favorite type of sushi?





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Monday, March 12, 2012

Ombre Nails

I became obsessed with ombre manicures  lately.   I love this trend, not only because its fun, but its so easy to do. So what's exactly are ombre nails?  Its a manicure using five different polishes of the same tone, that graduate from light to dark.  Paint the lightest color on your pinky and finish with the darkest on your thumbnail.  This looks great in any shade from nude to bright pinks, or my personal favorite- purples!  Just make sure is to get a smooth gradation of color.  Try not to jump too far when pick colors from one shade to the next, so your ombre manicure looks intentional.
ombre nails-2
ombre nails

Happy Monday loves! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Pin It

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Post: by the talented Javelin W.

Plated Crostni Version 2

Hello readers of A Cup of Mai!  I'm Javelin and I am the author of Cookin w/ Luv.   Mai has invited me to guest blog on her gorgeous site.

Hi, my name's Javelin Warrior and I have an addiction.  Actually, I'm addicted to two devilish foods: Bread (my absolute favorite thing to eat) followed very closely by my second favorite food, Cheese.

This is no exaggeration as I would happily eat a slice of warm bread with a smear of melting butter before ever taking a slice of pie (or a piece of chocolate for that matter). And I'll always reach for a home-baked roll at the Thanksgiving table long before I go in search of turkey. In fact, my one true nemesis to ultimate healthfulness is my addiction to bread.

Homemade Baguettes

An addiction only slightly more powerful than my obsession with cheese.

When I was in high school, I used to buy bags of Kraft cheese cubes, sneak off to my room, and devour the entire bag before dinner. And sadly, despite having matured (aged) a few years, I really haven't done much to curb my obsession. When appetizers are served at parties, I'm instinctively drawn to the platter of sliced cheese - and only the fear of being branded as a glutton keeps me from carrying off the platter to devour in privacy! 

Yet bread and cheese are wickedly fattening, especially when paired together - which is of course my favorite way to eat them. But out of respect and love for my body and the health of those I cook for, I try to restrain my enthusiasm for these two addictive foods by serving only in moderation.

And moderation really was the driving force behind this crostini recipe. This is my controlled method of doling out precise quantities of toasted bread and melted cheese - piled high with healthful roasted vegetables to alleviate guilt. 

Roasted Root Veggies V2

Quite frankly, these crostini are so good you may be tempted by the roasted root vegetables into believing you're gorging on something healthful - except with all that bread and cheese, we both know it's a delusion! In fact, I find it's best to plan EXACTLY how many crostini to make before beginning, otherwise I find myself with a whole sheet pan of crostini goodness and only my boyfriend to help me scarf them down.

Although these crostini would make a lovely appetizer or a side for soup, I rarely eat them as anything but a entree served with perhaps a greens salad. These toasted devils are a fairly well-rounded meal in and of themselves and if I'm feeling a bit low on protein for the day, I may pair with a small handful of roasted almonds (8-10). If you REALLY want to show some love for health, serve these along side seasoned black beans or salted edamame. The goodness of the beans just might cancel out all that cheesy toasted bread badness. Might.

Before we get to the recipe, I should be upfront about the ingredients. These crostini are ridiculously easy if:
  1. You have stale baguettes lying about (I prefer homemade baguettes and there are a lot of loving reasons to make them yourself
  2. You make your own mayonnaise (it's easy and so much more flavorful than the bottled variety) 
  3. You have leftover roasted root vegetables hanging about in your fridge (I shared a recipe for roasted root vegetables last week)
The homemade mayonnaise, crusty baguettes and tangy roasted vegetables are utterly irresistible when topped with melted cheese. So brace yourself and warn your guests - you WILL be rationing these out. Because bread and cheese is addictive, because healthfulness is important, and because you love your guests.

I attempt to keep all of my recipes more healthful by eliminating transfats, artificial dyes and flavorings, preservatives, and pre-prepared shortcuts. However, this recipe still contains a great deal of fat and carbs and is NOT a health-conscious food. Out of respect and love for your own body (and for those you cook for), please exercise restraint when consuming crostini!

Plated Crostini Along Side Almonds

Crostini with Roasted Root Vegetables
By JavelinWarrior
Prep Time: 10 min  Bake Time: 5 min  Oven Temp: 475℉

Ingredients


Technique

  1. Preheat oven to 475℉
     
  2. Arrange baguette slices on a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets), add vegetables to a large, shallow oven-safe baking dish and place both vegetables and baguette slices in oven for 3-4 minutes - watch carefully to be sure baguette slices do not burn!

    Homemade Baguette SlicesSliced Baguette Ready for Toasting
    Roasted Root VegetablesRoasted Root Vegetables in Oven
     
  3. Remove baguette slices and vegetables from oven; transfer baguette slices off baking sheet to prevent over-toasting and spread each baguette slice with mayonnaise; return baguettes slices back to cooling baking sheet

    Toasted Baguette SlicesToasted Baguette Slices w/ Mayonnaise
     
  4. Top each baguette slice with roasted vegetables and sprinkle cheese over top of vegetables; place sheet of crostini to the oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted; serve immediately
  5. Baguette Topped w/ Roasted Root VegetablesCrostini Topped with Cheeses Cheese Melted over CrostiniPlated Crostni Version 2
Tips
  • I've shared recipes for making homemade baguettes and mayonnaise - and I really recommend going the homemade route. I know, I know - we're all busy and baking your own baguettes or making your own mayonnaise is time-consuming, out of touch, and perhaps even daunting - but adding a few versatile recipes to your weekly routine (like baguettes and mayonnaise) is completely doable - and can really elevate so many different recipes

    Homemade BaguettesHomemade Mayonnaise
     
  • You really cannot make finished crostini in advance - once the cheese hardens and the vegetables cool, these crusty munchies lose their appeal. So if you're serving as an appetizer for a crowd of guests, prep everything in advance (slice the baguettes, grate the cheese, measure out the vegetables, etc) but wait until your guests have arrived before toasting off the bread and melting the cheese
     
  • As you can see by the pictures, I usually halve or quarter this recipe as there are generally only two of us eating the final result - I find 4 crostini per person is about right if I'm serving as an entree with perhaps a side salad. If I'm serving as a appetizer, I would allow 2 crostini per person. As a side to a soup or other entree, I would probably serve just one crostini
     
  • Don't skip the mayonnaise! The creamy tanginess of the homemade mayonnaise is a surprising note against the dryness of the toasted baguette and the complex flavors of the roasted vegetables. In fact, if you want to cut calories, skimp a bit on the cheese because it really it's not the star ingredient with these crostini

    Grated Parmesan Cheese


Huge thanks to Mai for having me as a guest!




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Monday, March 5, 2012

My Dressing Room

I'm finally revealing my dressing room.  Can you believe it? I posted about converting one of our guest bedroom into a dressing room/office space here.   Anyway, this is where I get ready every morning.   Without further ado I present you my very own dressing room.

*I forgot to snap some before photo of the room but we painted the walls Benjamin Moore Feather Grey*
dressing room+milo
dressing room+ chevron rug
vanity table-2
We're planning to replace the carpet with hardwood floor  this summer.
chandelier
I got the chandelier from Overstock 3 years ago
vanity table
details-3
makeup brushes with coffee beans
 details-4

milo
details-5
my wedding shoes (gift from husband)
wedding shoes+ paper whites
dressing room-2
Most of my stuff are still in our walk in closet.  Here I'm just hanging some of my favorite pieces!
details-1
more shoes

And the whole thing was done on a major budget, like the rest of the place. The only thing I bought  full-price ( well almost it was on sale plus I found a 10% coupon online) was the mirrored vanity table.  Everything else was previously owned or  sale purchases. Without a doubt my most favorite thing in the room is the owl jewelry holder from Urban Outfitters.   Overall, I'm really pleased with how this little space turned out.  Any thoughts? :)

Source List:
Mirror Vanity Table- Pier1 Imports
Louis Chair- gift
Storage Shelve- Home Depot
Clothing Racks- Target
Owl Tray- Urban Outfitter
Hand Astrological Jewelry Stand- Urban Outfitter
Frames- Ikea and Michaels
Floor length mirror- Home Good
Chevron Rug- RugsUSA
Art Poster- Holstee

Its very hard to photograph the whole room so I film a room tour for you guys. Enjoy!
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