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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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WHITE CRANBERRY MIMOSA

White Cranberry Mimosas

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas cocktail?! You are in for a special treat because our resident cocktail wizard, Lindsey Brunk, whipped up the most delicious Cranberry Mimosa the world has ever seen. Get ready babes, because if this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, I don’t know what will! – xoxo, LK


Hello, lovelies! Lindsey here, bringing you the first official Christmas cocktail of the season: a delicious White Cranberry Mimosa!

After all the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving weekend (two turkey dinners, mashed potatoes for days and an extra stretchy pair of pants) it’s time to unwind and spend time decorating the tree and listening to all the best Christmas tunes. What better way to top off festive relaxation than with a super simple bubbly Christmas cocktail? Cheers! 
White Cranberry Mimosas

INGREDIENTS:

– Prosecco or champagne

– White cranberry juice

– Frozen cranberries

White Cranberry Mimosas

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Add equal parts white cranberry juice and prosecco to each glass.

2. Garnish with frozen cranberries.

3. Add extra sparkle to your mimosa by serving them in these stunning coupe glasses from Anthropologie!

White Cranberry Mimosas


Photos by Jessica Gold Photography

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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’

STAY AT HOME GALS BRUNCH

minted0001I don’t care what anyone says, brunch is the best. To me, it’s one of the best parts of being an adult. Macaroons, bellinis, a few vegetables so you can have another macaroon, and it’s basically the best time ever. Since we think every weekend should have some brunch plans involved, we’ve teamed up with Minted to host a little gals brunch!

It’s the start of the week, so you should have ample time to get inspired to host a little get together this weekend. Don’t worry, Minted makes it easy with their adorable bar cards, tags, and banners, so all you have to do is grab the food, mix up some drinks, and have your besties over. What could be better?!minted0002Now, hosting a brunch in your space might sound daunting, but I promise it’s not only a breeze, but a ton of fun!

Forget the crowd, the judgy server, and splitting the check, hosting a brunch is easy because your friends can hang out as long as they want! Plus, you’ve got the best special in town – bottomless mimosas and all you can eat treats.

We will break down the fool-proof steps for hosting a wildly successful brunch (without the fuss), but only if you promise to try it!

minted0013Okay, step one:

Go to Minted & pick out your dream brunch theme. We went with a super fun, marble palette in killer peach & gold tones and I am obsessed with them.

Not only are the themes and colors great, but the options they give you are amazing! Don’t want to DIY a banner, don’t worry, they’ve got you. How about customizable cards for the bar cart? Oh, yep, they’ve got those too. It’s like having your own personal graphic designer on hand & the best part is that you can re-use them for many events to come!

minted0024 Step Two:

Get your list of power-house brunch friends together.

Send them an email, invite them over group-text, fly a carrier pigeon to their house, we don’t care, just get those gals together!

minted0016Step Three:

It’s now time to plan the “menu.” When we say menu, we don’t mean omelette bar or anything overwhelming. We mean, the best goodies, treats, and brunch staples you can whip up (or pick up) without getting stressed.

Need some help brainstorming? Lucky for you, we have a particular love for breakfast foods. Here are our favorite recipes you can make ahead or prep the night before

minted0029Step Four:

To me, this is the best step – the prep! I love getting things ready for an event. Setting the table, adding fun details, making everything look delicious & fun – it’s the best. Who cares about a perfectly styled home, or a messy living room, no one is coming over because they want to judge the dust on your mantel (if so, you need new friends), it’s all about hanging out, spending time, and catching up!

Have a little fun while you set things up. I always put on a good playlist to get my creative juices going. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s just got to be honest!

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Step Five:

Are you ready? This is the hardest step – HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Your friends are here, the food is perfect, the space is beautiful, and literally nothing could be better. So maybe you don’t have matching plates or some of you are drinking cocktails from a mug – but who cares?!

You did it! You got your friends together and that is the most important thing. Plus, you’ve just thrown your first stay-at-home gals brunch and it was a raging success! That deserves another cocktail in my book 😉

minted0038Love what you see? Want to host your own? SHOW US! Getting friends together and celebrating is our favorite & we would love to see how you style, prep, and throw your next bash! Tag us here or use #LKMakes. Who knows, we might even invite ourselves over next time! minted0027


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this post was sponsored by Minted.com, all thoughts & opinions are my own

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.