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GINGER & WALNUT DARK CHOCOLATE BARK

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

Happy Monday! Constance here. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is seriously struggling with coming off of the chocolate high after the holidays?! It seems to be so much more difficult than it was last year. I’m a firm believer in the gradual change, and I think that this little recipe falls a bit more into the power bar/trail mix category than the dessert category. Right? And dark chocolate is basically a superfood. Thus, I bring you Ginger & Walnut Dark Chocolate Bark. It’s easy. It’s delicious. And it’s obviously super healthy…

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELPDARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. dark chocolate chips or chunks

-2 tablespoons almond extract

-1 cup candied ginger, chopped

-1 cup walnuts, chopped

-1 cup shaved almonds

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/3 cup of ginger, 1/3 cup of walnuts and 1/3 cup of almonds.

-Stir until evenly combined.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining ginger, walnuts and almonds evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP


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DESERT TABLEMAKERS DINNER

TABLEMAKERS0067Tablemakers embodies the belief that entertaining is supposed to be a celebration – a beautiful, wabi-sabi celebration of friendship and community. It is not about making things flawless or Pinterest-perfect, it is about inviting others into your sacred space – your home – and building community. My goal, throughout this whole series, is to inspire you to open your home and grow your community. To organize a happy hour, a lunch, or a dinner party for 12, whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be honest & true.

With that belief in mind, we gathered 30 of Phoenix’s artists, makers, movers, & shakers and threw a dinner party for the books on a ranch in the middle of the desert. There was no agenda, no fuss, just good food, great wine, and even better conversation.

My passion for entertaining is centered around creating a space where everyone feels comfortable to relax, let their hair down, and hang out until the sun comes up. Our hope with these traveling dinner parties is to celebrate the ‘maker’ in all of us & create a community that encourages collaboration & camaraderie rather than competition.

With the backdrop of Tremaine Ranch, we set up long harvest tables (hand made by the owner!) and set an elegant farm inspired place setting (thanks to urbAna) with florals from Posies Floral along the center as a relaxed, unstructured runner. Between the delicious feast from Laurel Morley & the perfectly paired wine from Kendall-Jackson the night was unstoppable. As a fun surprise to our guests, we invited a local favorite dessert truck, Waffle Love, to stop by and treat everyone to the most unbelievable waffles (seriously, they are out of control). TABLEMAKERS0077 TABLEMAKERS0030 TABLEMAKERS0064 TABLEMAKERS0048 copy TABLEMAKERS0007 copy 2 TABLEMAKERS0001 TABLEMAKERS0087 TABLEMAKERS0110 TABLEMAKERS0036 TABLEMAKERS0009


Hostess & Dinner Founder: Lauren Kelp  | Graphic Design & C0-Host: Ashley Cooper | Photography & Co-Host: Constance Higley | Wine : Kendall Jackson | Florals: Posies Floral | Catering : Laurel Morley | Venue: Tremaine Ranch | Candles: Paddywax | Soap: Olivina | Table Decor: urbAna | Waffles: Waffle Love | DJ: Alex Fielding

CRANBERRY + PISTACHIO ALMOND BARK

XMAS0004Hello merrymakers! Constance here! If you’re anything like me, you’re in full scramble mode. It’s Monday and that means you have less than one week until THE day of gifting. No matter how hard I try and how much I plan, I’m always working, shopping, cooking up until the last minute. Wasn’t it Steve Jobs that said the best work is done under pressure? No? Well….someone did, and I’m sticking to that nugget of wisdom!
And friends, if you’re in the same boat, this recipe is clutch. Total prep time? About 10 minutes. Total time? About 8 hours. BUT 7.5 hours of that is spent in your refrigerator which means this little recipe is foolproof! And better news? It’s truly so, so good. And it just to happens to be red, white, and green!

XMAS0001 INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. good white chocolate
-2 tablespoons almond extract
-1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
-1 cup chopped dried cranberries

XMAS0002INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/2 cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of cranberries.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining pistachios and cranberries evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

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PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

Well, hello! We are helping you step up your entertaining game this holiday season with the most delicious (and easy!) prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese! You can make it in under five minutes, it tastes delicious, and it packs a major WOW factor – what could be better? See the recipe below! – xoxo, LK


Friends! Constance here. It’s official! I’ve found it. The ultimate Christmas party appetizer that is, in fact, equal parts super easy and super fancy-ish. Parties, dinners and last minute get-togethers are in full swing for the holidays, and if you’re anything like this gal, procrastination can get the best of you. Rather than opting for that weird and slightly disturbing store bought dip, I beg of you, try this prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese combo out.

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELPPROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-15-20 dates

-goat cheese

-proscuitto

-fresh thyme

 

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Spread 1/2 tbsp of goat cheese on each date.

-Wrap each date with one slice of prosciutto.

-Top with a small sprig of fresh thyme.

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELPSo next time you are in a bit of a bind and need a fancy appetizer in a snap, don’t forget about this little gem! Nothing says, I am a serious hostess-with-the-mostess like prosciutto wrapped dates with goat cheese! PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE - LAUREN KELP


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FARMHOUSE POTTERY GIVEAWAY

giveaway0002Hello, party people! As y’all know, October is my absolute favorite month & so to celebrate we wanted to do a fun giveaway of this amazing match striker from Farmhouse Pottery! Have you ever heard of a match striker before? Better question – can you now live without one?

This Milk Bottle Match Striker is super rad. Just strike your match against the stoneware and voila – a spark! It’s absolutely perfect for that adorable little candle nook you worked so hard to style (and it looks great, by the way), a gift for a friend, or perched smartly on a tray in guest bed or bath. Either way it’s adorable and I’ve already been fielding not-so-subtle hints from friends and family that this striker has definitely made it to the top of their holiday wish list!

giveaway0003Here is the other super cool bit about this striker, it’s handmade by the most wonderful people . If their modern farm aesthetic with farm-to-table values don’t jive with you, you might be in the wrong place. We are ga-ga over their authentic mission of bringing character and true craftsmanship to the things we surround ourselves with. But for real though, promise me you will check these guys out. If their Instagram doesn’t inspire you to get back to your day dream (or move to a farm in Vermont), we’ve got to talk 😉

So, how do you enter?!

Visit @LaurenKelp to find out!
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SPINACH & FIG SALAD

SPINACH & FIG SALAD - LAUREN KELPHello, hello! There is no denying it – from Arizona to Texas, it finally feels like Fall! That means it’s all about figs all the time here in the LK kitchen & we aren’t even slightly upset about it. Read how our wonderful Food Editor whipped up another Autumnal inspired recipe – this time a delicious fig salad – for you all! xoxo – LK


Hello & Happy Monday, friends! Constance here. So, I know we talk a lot about chocolate, and wine, and if you hang out with Lauren and myself long enough, you’ll know that French Fries are our favorite food, but there is a healthier side to this shop talk.

We’re on a bit of a health kick/detox in our house, and I’m trying with all of my might to get creative with it. You may or may not have noticed I have a strong affinity for figs. They seem to pop up in every other post. I just cannot get enough. Would I rather they be dipped in chocolate? Probably. But this little spinach & fig salad comes in as a close second!

Simple is an understatement here. This salad is so easy and it’s great for a Monday lunch or a Friday night dinner party-your choice!SPINACH & FIG SALAD - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-6 oz. Trader Joe’s Heirloom Red Spinach

-10-12 figs, quartered

-3 plums, sliced into thin wedges

-1/4 cup sliced almonds

-Oil & balsamic vinegar to taste

 

SPINACH & FIG SALAD - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, figs, plums and almonds.

-Sprinkle with oil & vinegar.

-Mix to combine evenly.

-Serve with fresh cracked black pepper.

SPINACH & FIG SALAD - LAUREN KELP


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DARK CHOCOLATE TART

DARK CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP

Hello, hello, hello! Don’t you feel like your week starts off better if you try and make Monday a bit special? Well, we believe that every day deserves a treat, but most especially Mondays. So, leave it to our resident Foodie pro to whip up something total treat-worthy! This dark chocolate tart looks heavenly & I can’t wait to since my teeth into it! – xoxo, LK


Oh friends, Constance here, and I’d like to introduce you to my newest cure for the Monday blues (and my newest addiction!), the dark chocolate tart. You guys, make it a weekly tradition and you have my word–it will make you look forward to the beginning of the work week! That tradition may also force you to use that gym membership a bit more regularly, but in my opinion, that’s a win-win.

Okay so maybe that’s a bit much, but try it and you’ll see why it’s a tempting thought! Whether it’s a Monday, a special birthday treat, or a gift for a friend, this little tart is sure to impress & guess what, in true LK fashion, it’s easier than you might think! Check it out & tell us what you think…DARK CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-1 cup flour
-4 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
-¼ cup powdered sugar
-1/2 cup chilled butter, cubed
-1-2 tablespoons iced water
-coconut oil spray
-2 1/3 cups dark chocolate chunks
-1 3/4 cups heavy cream
-1/4 cup good whiskey
-sea salt for sprinkling

DARK CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Put flour, cocoa, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl and use your hands to combine mixture.

-Add water and and continue to mix until evenly combined.

-Gradually press dough into one large ball, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

-Spray a 9 inch tart pan with coconut oil.

-Remove dough from refrigerator and place dough in the center of your tart pan.

-Use your hands to gently spread the dough out from the center to evenly fill the bottom and the sides of your pan. Be careful to avoid creating any holes.

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and refrigerate tart pan for 15 minutes.

-Bake crust for 20-22 minutes until lightly crisp.

-Remove from heat and let cool.

-In a small pot, heat the cream until simmering. Remove from heat and add chocolate and whisk until smooth.

-Add whiskey to the chocolate mixture and let cool for 15 minutes.

-Pour chocolate mixture into pastry shell and refrigerate overnight.

-Sprinkle with sea salt and serve slightly chilled.

DARK CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP


constanceRecipe adapted from ‘From the Kitchen’

LAST MINUTE ADVENTURE | A DAY AT THE LAKE

CANYON0001The lazy mornings and sleepy afternoons of summer are slowly winding down, but we aren’t ready to give it up just yet! Fall is an awesome season (by far the best in Chicago, in my opinion), but there is something so fun about skipping out early on work, rounding up some friends, and heading out of town to the lake for a quick get-away!

Because we are all about celebrating the little moments, the random itches to get out of town, and the well-fed adventures, we are grabbing a few bottles of K-J AVANT, packing a delicious, no-fuss spread, and getting out of dodge — come join us!
CANYON0004So, I know most “lake day” food is comprised of hot dogs, potato chips, and other (fabulous) junk food that just tastes better when you’re out on a lake, but here is our case for a “fancy” spread – it’s easy, it’s delicious, and it’s way less work.

I know it looks high maintenance, but this spread couldn’t be easier. We call it the “anything goes” spread. For the full how-to details, and a DELICIOUS melon skewer recipe, see the details HERE!
Lake Day 3 CANYON0006No one likes to be bogged down by logistics when you are trying to get on the road, so trust me when I say, this combo of vino and munchies is a slam dunk. There is no clean-up, no plates required, and everyone feels good because they’ve been snacking on peach slices instead of a million chocolate chip cookies.

What is not to love?! Grab some easy plastic wine glasses, along with a big board to serve your goodies on, and your basically the Kardashians of the lake.
Lake Day 4Also, let’s talk about something really quick – this wine, I love it. Especially for things like this! The whole “no corkscrew needed” element makes it the perfect grab and go bottle of wine & it pleases every palette!

Typically, I am not a white wine gal (much to my mother’s displeasure), but a glass of cool K-J AVANT in the summer hits the spot every time. CANYON0013Here is what I love most about a lake day getaway – the fresh air. It’s perfect and it does something to make everyone relax and have a good time. The pup is happy in the water, friends are having a great time, everyone is well-fed, it’s basically the perfect retreat.

Summer schedules are hectic, and they are about to be even more manic, but if you can swing it – be the instigator. Badger those friends so they can’t say no, call in sick from work, grab some bottles of celebratory K-J AVANT, round up your spread, and soak up the last days of summer! Lake Day 2So friends, it’s time. You’ve got the roadmap for a blissful day and the lake, what’s stopping you! Show us your spread!! Tag @LaurenKelp and @KJWines and show us your fabulous, no-fuss day at the lake!CANYON0021


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This post is sponsored by Kendall-Jackson but all thoughts, opinions, and food obsessions are our own.

BLACKBERRY GORGONZOLA FLATBREAD

BLACKBERRY GORGONZOLA FLATBREAD - LAUREN KELP

In my world, Mondays are made for flatbread….or Domino’s pizza, but preferably homemade flatbread. And barring a rough Monday where ordering in is the only option, this particular flatbread is a Higley favorite. With a combo of gorgonzola and brussel sprouts, it’s most definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is truly so good.

Tips and tricks?

-No matter what you do, do NOT skimp on sautéing the brussels!

-If blackberries aren’t in season, red grapes are a good substitute.

BLACKBERRY GORGONZOLA FLATBREAD - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS FOR DOUGH:

-2 c. whole wheat flour

-1 pkg. or 1 tbsp. active dry yeast

-3/4 tsp. salt

-1 c. warm water

-1 tbsp. olive oil

-1 tsp. honey

INGREDIENTS FOR FLATBREAD:

-EVOO

-1 small wedge of gorgonzola, crumbled

-1/4 cup sliced almonds

-1 cup fresh blackberries

-1 cup brussel sprouts, shaved and lightly sautéed

-fresh cracked pepper

BLACKBERRY GORGONZOLA FLATBREAD - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Pour flour into a large mixing bowl.

-Add yeast and salt. Mix well.

-Add water, oil and honey; mix well.

-Cover with a moist cloth and place in a warm spot for 10 minutes to rise.

-Place dough on a lightly floured surface and slowly spread and press the dough into your desired thickness and shape.

-Drizzle the top with EVOO.

-Top the flatbread with the crumbled gorgonzola, almonds, blackberries, and brussel sprouts.

-Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

-Remove flatbread from oven, top with fresh cracked pepper and enjoy.

BLACKBERRY GORGONZOLA FLATBREAD - LAUREN KELPWe’d love to hear what your go-to flatbread combos are! Tag your recipes with #LKmakes – we’ll be sharing our favorites soon!


 

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DINNER WITH FRIENDS | LAUREN KELP

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Howdy folks! As you all know, we are doing this fun series called – Dinner With Friends. It’s like our Tablemakers concept but a little more practical. As much as I would love to have our weekly dinner party full of tree trunk chargers in the middle of a vineyard in Sonoma, it’s not always the most practical thing. But, like we always say, entertaining doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be honest!

So, today we are taking a peek in to my little house downtown Chicago and getting a look inside how we normally entertain. Lots of really delicious food, good drinks, and the best of friends – what more could you need?
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Since moving back to Chicago it’s been an absolute blast getting to catch up with old friends again. We kicked off the evening with a casual little “cocktail hour” on the sofa while the soup did its thing on the stove. Nothing makes me feel smarter when entertaining than having a recipe that does the work itself. No one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen while you have friends over, so don’t!

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I absolutely love having people over for dinner, but I understand that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. I think a lot of that has to do with the pressure to have a perfectly set table, a cool house, and a secret affinity for cooking. The truth is that no one cares about any of that! Everyone is just so excited to get together the rest is just toppings.

We set a really simple table that full of color and chocked full of mismatched silverware, stemware, and serving platters. They all worked together because we wanted them to, not because they matched. And guess what? No one noticed!

HT|DWF0057 HT|DWF0039Isn’t this cake delicious looking? Just wait until you taste it! Get the recipe for this surprisingly easy cake HERE!
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The best part of the entire evening was kicking back, not being stuck in the kitchen, and catching up with people we haven’t seen in years. We told stories, drank a fair share of wine, and caught up on all things big and small. The pot of soup was emptied and the cake didn’t stand a chance. It was absolutely perfect.
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