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TRAVEL LIKE A PRO little luxuries that make all the difference

Between traveling to meet clients, scoping out new locations for Tablemakers, and the occasional weekend get-away, my bags are packed more often then not. Luckily, I love traveling and feel very fortunate to be on the go so often, but it doesn’t come without it’s downsides. While certain things are out of your control (hello cancelled flights, long lines at the airport, or missed connections), I have found that it pays to be a savvy traveler. To me, that means packing multi-purpose pieces (like day to night slacks), always having snacks on hand (goodbye desperate vending machine trips), and bringing a few little luxuries along for the ride (sassy cheetah slippers, anyone?)

pack like a pro via lauren kelp
Whether traveling for work or for pleasure, it’s important to bring a few things along that remind you of home. Look,  traveling can be exhausting so why not plan ahead and give yourself a break. After I land in a new place (if time allows), I throw on my sneakers and hit the hotel gym, or if the weather is nice enough, I go outside for a run.

I shake that airport funk right off, get my blood flowing, and give myself the excuse I needed to order a side of fries with dinner. That night, again, depending on the schedule, I treat myself to a little in-room spa time. I pack a face mask (specifically this one), a travel jar of coffee scrub, maybe a deep conditioning hair treatment, throw on my adorable Birdies and treat myself to a little alone time. This way I am refreshed for a full day of meetings and have a little extra pep in my step.
pack like a pro via lauren kelpOkay, let’s talk about these slippers for a second. Yes, those cheetah ones! Adorable right? They don’t even look like slippers and that is why I love them so much. They are part of the latest collection by Birdies, wildly comfortable, and the absolute best house shoes I have ever owned.

When we have people over, I always prefer if people take their shoes off, and because I love these slippers so much, I have a few extra pairs on hand for girlfriends to slip on when they come over. I rarely wear socks that match, so walking around someone’s house without shoes on makes me feel a little silly, but these slippers are legit cuter than most flats I own…and a lot more comfortable. PLUS, they don’t take up a ton of room in your suitcase, protect your feet from mystery hotel floors, and are just too cute not to pack.Ooh and if you are in the market for a good weekend bag, do yourself the biggest favor and treat yourself to this Chelsea bag by Mark & Graham. Put it on your wish list (Christmas is coming!), treat yourself after that promotion/new job/kick ass life goal accomplished and I promise you won’t regret it. The leather is stunning and it only gets better with age. Plus, it is surprisingly large without being big and bulky. Every girl needs a good travel tote, right?

pack like a pro via lauren kelpSo, quick run through, here are my quick and dirty travel tips to keep you fresh & on your toes, no matter where you are going.

Go for a quick run, walk, or do some yoga after you check in. Get that blood flowing and give your body a little extra boost.

When packing, throw in a fun face mask, body scrub, or other at-home spa treatments. Order room service, binge watch HGTV, and treat yourself to some you time.

Get, bring, and gift these adorable slippers – trust me, they will become your favorite comfy time accessory.

Have a few shades of lipstick and a roll-on perfume stick in your carry-on. There are few things a good shade of lipstick and a power fragrance can’t fix.

pack like a pro via lauren kelpOoh and if you are in the market for a good weekend bag, do yourself the biggest favor and treat yourself to this Chelsea bag by Mark & Graham. Put it on your wish list (Christmas is coming!), treat yourself after that promotion/new job/kick ass life goal accomplished and I promise you won’t regret it. The leather is stunning and it only gets better with age. Plus, it is surprisingly large without being big and bulky. Every girl needs a good travel tote, right?

pack like a pro via lauren kelp


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this post was sponsored by birdies slippers. all opinions are my own & seriously, get these slippers – they are amazing.

STRAWBERRY LEMON PANCAKES can we get an AMEN?!

6Get ready to throw out that tired old pancake recipe because these strawberry pancakes with lemon glaze are dominating the breakfast table & we aren’t even upset about it. Light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet, these puppies are so easy to master you’ll be whipping them up with your eyes closed in no time! – xoxo, LK


Hello my gorgeous girl, Elizabeth here! First and for most thank you for stopping by and I hope this recipe has caught your eye as much as it has caught my stomach! All puns’ intended!

Are you a twenty something year old?! If you are (in all total seriousness) I believe you should have at least mmmm… I’m going to say three things that you should totally and absolutely hone. They are your recipes and as soon as you step foot in the kitchen you know that you are a total bad ass. That spatula is suddenly your wand and you’re going to win-gardium-leviosa the crap out of that dish. It’s a skill that will make you more confident and give you some ease when you have people over. Pancakes are amongst the most simple when it comes to breakfast foods and I know you can kill it! Bow tie that apron up and get to it sister friend!

2Before you get started, make sure you’re up to date on your pancake tips!

– Use a cast iron pan or a pan that heats up really evenly!

– Always use butter or non-stick spray in the pan so they don’t stick on you!

– Pancakes are ready to flip when they are bubbling and the bubbles stay open!

– Do not over mix your batter! Lumps are your friends.

– Your first few pancakes generally do not cook well; don’t get frustrated in the beginning!

– I’m a maple syrup lover too, but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box with your toppings! Love bananas?! Me too! Caramelize them with some brown sugar and cinnamon for an amazing topping!

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STRAWBERRY LEMON PANCAKES
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 Teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 Teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ½ Cups of whole milk
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 4 Tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of white granulated sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon of lemon zest
  • *1 Cup of diced strawberries
  • 1 Cup of powdered sugar
  • 3 – 5 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. In two large bowls mix together your wet and dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients until light and fluffy for about a minute. Add in dry ingredients in two batches mixing until just incorporated after each set.
  2. Add in strawberries and gently fold until combined. Transfer batter to a measuring cup for an easier pour. Note* if batter is too think it can be thinned with more milk to reach desired consistency. Heat skillet to medium high with generous amount of butter.
  3. In a small bowl whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice until thin consistency is reached. Top pancakes with glaze, powdered sugar and strawberries.

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TURKEY BACON AVOCADO BREAKFAST SANDWICH because breakfast sandwiches are the best

BREAKFAST SANDWICH

Hello friends! Constance here. Hope you’re all having a wonderful week! Guys-it’s almost March. Can you believe it? I’m not quite sure how that happened. I feel like I’m just now ready for Christmas. We’re getting ready for a crazy influx of house guests over the next month. Spring training starts soon here in Phoenix, and while I like to pretend everyone’s coming in town for some good quality hang time, let’s be real….it’s all about baseball.

Regardless, I’ve been working on coming up with some foolproof recipes that don’t have me slaving away in the kitchen all hours of the day. I definitely want our guests to have a hot meal, but I also want to keep a small ounce of sanity while doing it. My solution? Recipes that you can make in bulk and freeze for later. We’ve got more of these coming your way, but to start–biscuits. My plan is to make at least a few dozen of these before our guests begin to arrive so we can all eat our weight in breakfast sandwiches. Truly, they’re just the best. You can customize to fit any and all diets, and it’s as easy as frying a few eggs and some bacon and voila!

BREAKFAST SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS:

-2 slices thick cut bacon

-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1 large brown egg

-1 buttermilk biscuit

-sriracha

-1-2 oz. roasted turkey

-1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

-Sriracha

INSTRUCTIONS:

-In a medium sized pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.

-Remove bacon from pan and add olive oil. Continue to heat on medium until olive oil is hot.

-Crack egg slowly over pan, and immediately reduce heat to low.

-Cook slowly until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard.

-Remove egg from heat, top with fresh cracked black pepper, and set aside.

-Cut biscuit in half, and spread a light layer of Sriracha on the bottom half.

-Top with turkey, bacon, avocado, egg and the other half of the biscuit.

-Cut sandwich in half and serve immediately.

BREAKFAST SANDWICH


We’d love to hear your favorite combos below!  constance button

BIG GIRL SITE someone got a fancy new makeover

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There comes a time in every website’s life when the bubble-gummed & bootstrapped, “I did it myself!” look no  longer cuts it. We had one of those moments at the end of 2015 & decided that if we were going to be taken seriously as website full of thoughtful living pieces, entertaining tips, and killer cocktails, it’s time we started looking the part!

So, like every good creative, we decided to re-create ourself. We ditched the blog-like layout, changed our color palette, revamped the home page, & swapped out our flats for a shiny new pair of gold metallic wedges.

HERE ARE SOME FUN NEW THINGS TO EXPLORE:

– Recipes to impress your Mother-in-Law

– EXPLORE categories

– Meet the team in our ABOUT section

– Easter entertaining essentials

Shout out to the web design wizards, Kelly & Andra of With Grace and Gold. They are fabulous design unicorns that dreamt up the new website look and executed it like a dream. While not only a joy to work with, these girls are freakishly talented and very well priced. If you are in the market for branding, website design, or brand strategy, I couldn’t recommend anyone else more highly!


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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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MAPLE SEA SALT ROASTED ALMONDS

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsHello lovelies! Are you ready for the best snack hack of your life? We recently threw a Tablemakers dinner in Phoenix were these were served as a little appetizer and our guests flipped! They are the perfect combination of salty & sweet and your life will never be the same after you try them. Seriously. xoxo,LK


Laurel here! There’s something magical about the sweet, rich aroma of roasted almonds that always makes me think of steam swirling around street-cart vendors in winter, or fancy kiosks in the mall selling fragrant cellophane bags of these little goodies. They remind me of something you’d treat yourself to or receive as a gift (in those same fancy cellophane bags or glass jars), you know? I’d always thought of roasted or candied nuts as something too special to make at home–which is ridiculous, now that I know how completely easy they are to pull off, and in almost no time at all. Can you stir things in a bowl? Can you wait twenty minutes? Perfect, then you can make these! If your pantry is stocked anything like mine, you may even have all the ingredients to make these treats already, but even if a shopping trip is required, this four-ingredient beauty won’t break the bank.

The only real secret to getting these crunchy, candied nuts just right is one I’ll share with you now (saving you from a fate like my first few overly sticky batches)…always toss them in syrup first, then vegetable oil separately. That’s it! The oil resists mixing with the liquid in the syrup and forms a kind of coating on the outside. Your result, my friend? Perfectly crunchy, not sticky, addictively delicious roasted nuts every time.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds
The best thing about this recipe for Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds really is, in fact, that it’s just a gateway to other recipes. Once you know how easy they are to make ahead of time, you can discover how amazing they are on top of hearty salads, warm Brie drizzled with maple syrup, breakfast bowls of grains or Greek yogurt, chopped and sprinkled on ice cream…you name it! My favorite way to eat them is straight out of my hand, though–they’re the perfect take-along snack for the office or running errands, and they keep me from reaching for far worse alternatives (vending machine candy bars, I’m lookin’ at you).

Never know what to serve at a party? This recipe will make you look like an entertaining genius. Set out a few pre-dinner bowls of these to satisfy hungry guests the next time you’re hosting–they’re totally at home next to a good cheese plate or on a bar cart with tasty cocktails. Like all good salty-sweet things (which is basically saying ALL GOOD THINGS, because that’s my favorite category), these roasted almonds are equally at home before or after dinner. You could just as easily end the meal with passed bowls of them and call it dessert. Happy snacking!

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsINGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a mixing bowl, toss almonds with maple syrup and half the salt.

– Add vegetable oil, toss until thoroughly coated.

– Spread almonds in a single layer on lined baking sheet.

– Bake for 20 minutes until deep golden brown, stopping about halfway through to stir with a silicone spatula and sprinkle with remaining sea salt.

– Let cool slightly, then break apart any clumped-together almonds while still a bit warm.

– When completely cool, store in airtight container for up to one month.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds


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CREAMY PASTA WITH APPLE & SAGE MEATBALLS

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaHowdy, friends! Laurel here & I know, I know…it may be January, and shiny brand new resolutions may be popping out all over the place, but let me just gently reassure you here. One, it’s not going to be January forever, even if it feels that way, and two, you need this pasta in your life. Gym memberships and kale smoothie cleanses are all wonderful things, but this weekend, you’ve got a date with some good old-fashioned comfort food.

This creamy pasta was the very best thing I ate in the month of December, which is saying something considering that it was a month that also contained at least a dozen new cookie recipes and Christmas dinner itself. But this dish, oh baby, this was the hands-down winner! This delightfully creamy pasta with savory apple, sage & sausage meatballs is rich yet somehow light, brightened by lemon zest and generous handfuls of fresh chives. And while it may not be a virtuous kale smoothie, it’s packed with spinach and fresh herbs and guaranteed to help chase away your dead-of-winter-blahs with some warm, carb-laden comfort: this is the One Winter Pasta To Rule Them All. It’s worth putting on your stretchy pants for, even in the land of New Year’s resolutions.

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaINGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt & pepper
1/2 cup peeled & grated apple
1 tablespoon fresh sage
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 lb. rigatoni pasta (usually, one box)
3 cups baby spinach leaves

Lauren Kelp | Creamy PastaINSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sour cream and regular cream together.

2. Add chives, lemon zest and lemon juice, plus salt & pepper to taste, set mixture aside.

3. Squeeze grated apple between your hands to remove as much juice as possible beforehand.

4. Put fresh sage, Italian sausage and chopped shallot in a mixing bowl, add the grated apple, mix with your hands until just barely combined. Roll mixture into about two dozen meatballs the size of large marbles.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add half the meatballs, cook until lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, do the same for the other half of the batch. Set all cooked meatballs aside.

6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with a handful of salt and add pasta. Cook until tender, then strain and return pasta to pot.

7. Add spinach and toss thoroughly while pasta is still warm, until leaves wilt and become soft.

8. Add cream mixture and meatballs, then serve.

Lauren Kelp | Creamy Pasta


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SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE TART

CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELPDid y’all have a lovely holiday? Are you gearing up for the next one? Well, if you plan on entertaining soon, we more than recommend this delicious salted dark chocolate tart. It’s unreal y’all! – xoxo, LK

Well hello fellow chocolatiers! Constance here. We hope you all had the most wonderful Christmas weekend celebrating with family and friends! Good news? We’re still going strong over here. We’re taking advantage of the rest of this glorious month, and continuing to celebrate by eating chocolate all day, everyday. I’m assuming you’re all doing the same, and this here little recipe is my go-to for all NYE parties. It has the classic black & white thing covered, and it’s really just a crowd pleaser. Because let’s face it, if you’re crowd doesn’t like dark chocolate, you may need to reevaluate your crew…

CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST:

-1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1/3 cup coconut oil, melted & slightly cooled
-1/4 cup agave syrup
-2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING:

-1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
-1 cup dark cocoa powder
-7 ounces dark chocolate, melted & slightly cooled
-2/3 cup agave syrup
-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2/3 cup coconut oil, melted & cooled
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large food processor, pulse the oats, flour, coconut oil, agave, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon until coarsely ground.
-Transfer dough to a 13 3/4 x 4 1/2 – inch tart pan with removable bottom.
-Firmly press dough into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
-Bake crust until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
-Combine espresso powder and 3/4 cup of hot water in a food processor, and mix until espresso is dissolved. Add cocoa and let sit for 5 minutes.
-Add melted chocolate, agave syrup, vanilla, coconut oil and sea salt, and process until mixture is really smooth and thick (roughly 45 seconds).
-Pour filling into cooled tart crust, and smooth the top (you may have a little extra filling left over–you’re welcome!)
-Sprinkle tart with see salt flakes and place in refrigerator until filing is set (about 1 hour).
-Cut tart into small bars and serve chilled!

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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.

XMAS0003


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SUN-DRIED TOMATO & GOAT CHEESE FRITTATA

SUN-DRIED TOMATO & GOAT CHEESE FRITTATA Hello again beautiful people, and welcome to Monday morning! We’re so glad you’re here, and since we realize you may be less than thrilled with the current time and day, we wanted to share a little recipe that may help bring some cheer to the beginning of your work week – the swanky frittata!

I’m currently in the middle of some serious cleaning and purging of everything in our household, and this yearly event always makes me crave the  simple, classic, go-to’s in life. Like the tailored little black dress, the perfectly curated linen closet, the newly arranged and edited book shelf, and the classic and perfected recipes that never grow old. Back to basics is my spring theme, and this frittata is an essential component of our little regimen.

The best part is, it’s basic appeal allows you the freedom to mix things up if you choose! So show us your take on this classic by tagging #LKmakes, and we’ll be featuring our favorites soon!

SUN-DRIED TOMATO & GOAT CHEESE FRITTATA

INGREDIENTS:

-3 teaspoons olive oil

-2 cloves minced garlic

-4 eggs

-1/2 cup milk

-2 ounces goat cheese crumbles

-2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1 lemon, juiced

-2 large handfuls of arugula

-Fresh cracked pepper

SUN-DRIED TOMATO & GOAT CHEESE FRITTATA

DIRECTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 375.

-In an 8″ cast iron skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-low heat.

-Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

-In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

-Add egg mixture to skillet and increase heat to medium. Cook until bottom begins to set, about 5-6 minutes.

-Transfer skillet to oven and continue to cook until edges are slightly brown, about 8-10 minutes.

-While frittata is baking, whisk together 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the juice from one lemon, and fresh cracked pepper. Toss with arugula.

-Remove frittata from oven, let cool slightly, and top with arugula. Serve and enjoy!


SUN-DRIED TOMATO & GOAT CHEESE FRITTATA


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