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WATERMELON GRANITA the perfect warm weather dessert

IMG_5387Hello, hello! Things are finally starting to feel like summer is right around the corner over here in the Midwest, so we thought we would turn to an expert (and one of our favorite foodies), our latest food contributor Joanna Meyer (follow her insta, you’ll be inspired for days!) on the perfect warm weather dessert. A resident of Arizona, Joanna knows a thing or two about beating the heat & she also likes her recipes to be healthy & as plant based as possible. Hello, a dessert that won’t break the bikini diet, what could be better?! Check out Joanna’s first post & let us know what you think! xox, LK

IMG_5477Hello! Joanna here & I’m not sure how you spend spring, but in Arizona, it typically includes a lot of chilled foods. The hot weather has me craving light and refreshing treats, like this watermelon granita, right now. Infused with basil and lime, then slightly sweetened with blue agave, watermelon granita fools me into thinking I’m eating snow cones. Fortunately, it tastes as good as a snow cone from the local fair! IMG_5444

WATERMELON GRANITA
Recipe type: summer dessert
Serves: 12-14
 
Perfect for summer nights or to swap out for a healthy dessert, this Watermelon Granita is basically a must-have for ever summer occasion.
Ingredients
  • 4 large sprigs basil
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ large seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into large cubes
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp blue agave syrup
Instructions
  1. Place the basil and water in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 2 minutes in the microwave. Allow the basil to continue steeping for 15 minutes in the water. Discard the basil thereafter.
  2. Add the basil-infused water to a blender, along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer the watermelon mixture to a metal baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Use a fork to scrape the mixture. Freeze for another hour and scrape again.
  4. Continue this process until all the liquid is frozen and the granita is made. Keep the granita frozen until ready to serve.

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HOST A GAME DAY PARTY

IMG_3941As I am sure you all know by now, the LK girls love any excuse to throw a party, so hosting a game day get-together is right up our alley! What could be more fun than getting the gang together & watching the big game on Sunday? Whether it’s your favorite team or your favorite sport, sometimes it’s just fun to hang out with friends, eat good food, and spend all morning trash talking 😉

Today we are sharing our favorite entertaining tips on how to make the right call & host a hassle-free game day party you and your friends will love!

digiorno 1No one wants to spend time in the kitchen making snack stadiums when you can be out in the living room watching your favorite team, am I right? One of the best parts of game day hangouts is the food & we’ve got to knock your party out of the park!

When it comes to hosting at my house, I am a huge fan of delicious food that impresses my guests without spending a ton of time in the kitchen. That’s why DIGIORNO’s Original Rising Crust pizza is my game day secret! It’s like a play that works every time & the fresh-baked taste can’t be beat. I might not fully understand everything about football, but I know that I am always making the right call when I serve DIGIORNO’s up hot.IMG_3909

One of my favorite parts of hosting a get-together is adding in fun decorative elements – because, why not?! A quick an easy way to dress up your living room in true game day spirit, is with a kraft paper tablecloth. It’s wildly simple, makes a fun impact, and it keeps your table from unfortunate food fumbles.

Grab a roll of kraft paper at your local craft store & a jar of cheap white acrylic paint (or white duct tape works well, too!) and you are halfway there. Roll out the paper on your coffee table & wrap the ends like a present, folding over the ends and securing with tape. Paint laces down the middle & stripes on either end & voila – the most adorable football table runner. See – easy, adorable, and it’s mess free!
IMG_4136You’ve got the perfect game day food, your table is festively set, now it’s time to figure out your field play – and by that I mean the layout of the room! Swing that sofa around or bring in some extra chairs so there is room for everyone.

Plus, if your guests are anything like mine, it’s partially about the game & mainly about the food. Nothing says “come & hang out a while,” like comfy chairs and easy access to the snack table. For get-togethers like these, I re-arrange my room to make the TV & the (now fabulous football themed) coffee table the center of attention. Everyone can mingle, hang out, and trash talk the opposing team, and everyone is included.
IMG_4133Whether you are rooting for the home team this Sunday or just riding along on the bandwagon, a game day get-together is a great way to get the gang together & celebrate a good time. So grab some DIGIORNO’s Original Rising Crust pizza, invite the gang over, and host a game day celebration at your place this weekend. Hanging out with friends is always the right call, so why not get the party started!

For more tips on how to #maketherightcall, check out the hysterical “Typical Game Day Party Guests” video series or visit @DiGiornoPizza! Don’t forget to share your game day celebration by tagging us & #maketherightcall. Can’t wait to see how you celebrate your team!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the
content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

AN ELEGANT AT HOME FRIENDSGIVING

An Elegant at Home Friendsgiving

It’s almost that time! Maybe you are headed home for Thanksgiving, or maybe you decided to play host this year. Either way, we want to celebrate getting together with the ones you love and spending time giving thanks. This year, Entertaining Contributor, Lindsey Brunk is hosting a sweet Friendsgiving with some of their oldest friends. Take note, their table isn’t decked out in gourds and glittered DIY’ed things. It’s simple, honest, and thoughtful – just like Thanksgiving should be. xoxo-LK


One cold New York winter I stumbled upon this chicken and dumplings recipe and it’s been a winter staple in the Brunk household ever since. You know what else it’s wonderful for? Repurposing your Thanksgiving leftovers into a whole new yummy dish!
An Elegant at Home Friendsgiving An Elegant at Home Friendsgiving This year we wanted to host a little mini Friendsgiving with our friends Brittany and Jordan. We’ve known them since my Baylor days and we all lived in New York for a while before making our way back to Dallas. Everyone has busy schedules, but it’s so important to remember to make time for friends over a glass of wine and delicious meal. I feel like modern entertaining is all about carving out time for one another and keep things simple and elegant.

An Elegant at Home Friendsgiving

TURKEY & DUMPLINGS:

Cooked turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving

1 cup diced carrot

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, smashed then minced

¼ cup flour

6 cups chicken stock

½ cup dry white wine or apple cider

2 teaspoons sugar

2 bay leaves

5 peppercorns

½ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped

salt/pepper to taste

FOR THE DUMPLINGS:

2 cups cake flour (or all purpose flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1- 1¼ cups milk

An Elegant at Home Friendsgiving

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil on medium high heat.

2. Add carrot, celery and onion and sauté until crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add flour and toss to coat. Cook another minute.

3. Pour chicken stock into pan and stir well to dissolve the flour. Add wine or apple cider, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns.

4. Add leftover turkey (including any pieces still on the bone) and cover Dutch oven. Let cook for 15 minutes.

5. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add melted butter and 1 cup of the milk and stir well to mix. Add flour if dough is too sticky to work with, add milk if it’s too dry. It should be thick and cake-like.

6. Using a spoon, scoop out 1 ½- 2 inch dumplings and place them on a parchment-lined baking tray. Set aside.

7. Remove turkey pieces from the broth and using a fork, pull the meat off the bone. Use one more fork and shred meat into about 1- 1½-inch chunks. Add the turkey back to the pan and remove bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and add dumplings.

8. Cook, COVERED (to steam the dumplings) for 15 minutes. Do not remove lid while dumplings are steaming (this will ensure they are fluffy).

9. Stir in cream, parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

An Elegant at Home Friendsgiving


Photography by Taylor Lord

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THAI ICED TEA

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Hello! Laurel here and I am so excited to be on board with the LK team! Do you like sweet things? How about spiced things? And most importantly, do you like them….and this part really is crucial…together? Me too! Have a Thai iced tea with me, and let’s chat about this crazy concoction.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Thai food came into my life pretty late in the game. I don’t remember my first serving of pad thai, my first green papaya salad, or even my first taste of spicy, rich, coconut-milk-based tom kha kai soup. But I do remember my first Thai iced tea. Tall & frosty over ice, with hints of vanilla, the sharp taste of cinnamon and other spices hidden just underneath a strong tea flavor and powerfully sweet creaminess…..it was a game changer. It was also bright orange, and was most definitely served in a plain white Styrofoam cup with a plastic lid from my nearest Thai takeout place. I was hooked instantly on this rich, yet refreshing beverage.

Many, many years later (as in, last week), I learned that the vibrant Orange Creamsicle-like hue actually comes from yellow and red food dyes traditionally added to Thai tea blends. Why bright orange? Who knows? You may notice that this recipe doesn’t call for any dyes, which means it won’t look exactly like the Thai iced tea available from your own local takeout joint. But otherwise it’s a dead ringer for the first Thai tea I ever tried, rich in steeped tea flavor, a blend of spices and vanilla and luxurious creaminess….in other words, it’s about the smoothest thing you could pour over ice and cool off with on a hot, late summer afternoon.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp
THAI

*FIVE SPICE POWDER: This is a tasty mix of, yes, five spices—star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds. It’s not expensive, so stock up for this recipe and keep it in your pantry to add interest & intrigue to stir-fries, marinades, and all kinds of other dishes

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren KelpHint: Want to take it up to yet another level? Try mixing up a batch and chilling it in ice pop molds for a perfect frozen treat.


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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.

HONEY ALMOND BUNDT CAKE

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

Monday’s are made for cake & we prefer this delicious almond bundt cake. Because, hello?! WHY NOT! Check out Constance’s easy, beautiful, and terrifically yummy recipe below. Try it out? Let us know! – xoxo, LK


 

Hello lovely people! Constance here! Happiest Monday to you and yours. I’m reclaiming Mondays and choosing to celebrate instead of lament. How you ask? Well, I’ve officially decided that Mondays were made for cake and with fig season in full swing, I can think of nothing better to top today’s honey almond bundt cake…or anything for that matter.

One of my absolute favorite gifts from my sweet husband was the cutest little fig tree that he planted in front of our house when I was traveling for work. He’s always been such a good gift giver, but this truly blew me away. I’m obsessed, and I cannot believe how much fruit it’s given us already!

Combine this abundance with a classic almond cake, and I’m in heaven. This delicious honey almond bundt cake is great for a shower, a birthday, any holiday, or any old Monday afternoon–your choice! Bon appétit!ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

 

 

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

 

 

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

 

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE - LAUREN KELP


constanceRecipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma

THE BEST RED SANGRIA RECIPE

RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp

Sangria is an absolute summer staple. There is nothing quite like a cold glass full of ripe fruit to get you through those balmy July days and cooler August nights. Sangria meets everyone’s needs – the wine drinker loves it, the beer drinker enjoys it too, and for the gal that only drinks cocktails, she can’t say ‘no’ either. But with so many recipes and various iterations of this summer classic, how do you find the best one? Luckily, we’ve been hard at work here in the LK test kitchen, making batches to test-taste and perfect. Thanks to all this “hard work” we’ve found the best red sangria recipe there ever was. It’s the right amount of sweet, the perfect mélange of fruit, and it has been stamped with approval by many a summer party goer. Don’t trust us? Try for yourself. We promise – you’ll love it!

RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 bottles of red Spanish table wine

– 1 cup of Brandy

– 1/2 cup of Triple Sec

– 1 cup of orange juice

– 1 cup of pomegranate juice

– 1/2 cup of Simple Syrup (see below)

– Orange slices

– Apple slices

– Blackberries

– Pomegranate seeds


RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp

DIRECTIONS:

1. SIMPLE SYRUP – Mix equal parts sugar and water in a sauce pan. Heat on medium high until sugar dissolves. Remove from burner and let the syrup cool

2. Grab a few oranges & apples (amount depends on how fruity you like your sangria and/or how many people you want to serve) and cut long-ways. Don’t think soccer practice wedges, think thinner slices.

3. Mix all ingredients together and let stand in a tightly sealed container or pitcher for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

4. Grab your favorite glasses, drop in a few ice cubes, and voila! The best sangria there ever was!

RED SANGRIA - Lauren Kelp


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FENNEL & TOMATO SOUP

TOMATO0001It’s officially soup season & we couldn’t be more thrilled! What sounds better than snuggling up in a comfy sweater, with a new book (or a Scandal marathon, whichever), and a bowl of this delicious (and easy!) tomato soup?! If grilled cheese is involved, forget about it – game over, life made, never leave the house!
Take a swing at our latest take on the beloved tomato soup recipe & tell us what you think. It’s easy without sacrificing taste & the fennel and crème fraîche adds a touch of gourmet, so when entertaining, you are sure to impress.

TOMATO0003INGREDIENTS

– 2 Large Bulbs of Fennel, Diced (3 Cups)

– Olive Oil

– 2 Heads of Roasted Garlic

– 2 Cans of Tomato Paste (1 Cup)

– 8 Cups of Vegetable Stock

– 2 Cups of Water

– 8 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice (or to taste)

– Salt & Pepper to Taste

– Fennel Fronds

– Crème Fraîche

TOMATO0002INSTRUCTIONS

1. Drizzle a pan with olive oil and warm over med-high heat. Add the diced fennel and a few pinches of coarse salt and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown and caramelized around the edges.
2. Add the tomato paste and roasted garlic and cook until the paste becomes fragrant (7-9 minutes). Add the vegetable stock and water and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Turn down to a simmer for 20-25 minutes. Puree soup if desired. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
3. Ladle into bowls and top with fennel fronds, crème fraîche, and pepper. Serve warm.
4. Serves 6 – 8
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HONEY ALMOND CAKE

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If you like your desserts light, tender, and with a side benefit of healthy (comparatively), this Honey Almond Cake recipe is absolutely for you. As desserts go, I don’t judge based on health benefits because, to be honest, I don’t really mind a little indulgence. Desserts are supposed to be decadent and immensely satisfying. Now, don’t get me wrong, I play it smart. I’ll absolutely pass on the less satisfying Snickers bar for the fabulous Gelato I might have later in the week, but the best part of this Honey Almond Cake recipe is that it is truly, truly divine. It’s fluffy while still maintaining lush inside & the honey glaze is simply elegant. It’s good fun to make & it will absolutely be a fast favorite!

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CAKE INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
1/2 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
3/4 Cup of Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup of Honey
1 Cup of Butter (room temperature)
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Strong Brewed Coffee (Cold)
2 Tablespoons of Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon of Almond Extract
1 1/2 Cups of Chopped Nuts (optional)

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WARM HONEY GLAZE INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup of Honey
2 Tablespoons of Coffee
1/2 Tablespoon of Almond Extract
Fleur de Sel

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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter and set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter for two minutes, and add honey and sugar. Beat for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add half the flour mixture, and mix until combined. Add the coffee, and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and combine. Add the sour cream and nuts, and beat until smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes before removing it from the pan.
5. Heat the honey and coffee for the glaze in a small saucepan until warm and runny. Add the almond extract and mix. While the cake is still warm, pour the honey mixture over the top.
6. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve warm.

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POMEGRANATE SCONES

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There is something so fantastic about baking in the fall. The house is nice and cool, the smell of spices and browning sugar fill the air, and everything just tastes a little better. I become a baking maven right around October, and oddly, my husband seems to love me a little bit more right around that time. Now, while I love a good chocolate chip cookie, I am always looking to expand my baking horizons and these Pomegranate Scones are going to be a fast favorite around here. Simple & straight-forward, these scones are far from their dry, bland cousin you can find in coffee shops. These sweet little guys are perfectly ripe with flavor and not the least bit dry. Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

– 2 cups of all-purpose flour

– 1 teaspoon of baking powder

– 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

– 1/3 cup of granulated sugar

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (frozen)

– 3/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

– 1/2 cup of half & half

– 1 egg

– 1 tablespoon of almond extract

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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Pre-heat over to 400 degrees

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture using the large holes of a box grater. Use fingers to work in the butter to the mixture. Mixture should resemble coarse meal.

3. Stir in pomegranate seeds

4. In a small bowl, whisk egg and half & half until smooth. Add almond extract and stir until combined

5. Using a fork, stir half & half mixture until the dough forms into large clumps. Use your hands to work the dough into a ball.

6. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7 inch circle (roughly 1 inch thick). Sprinkle with sugar.

7. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 8 triangles. Place triangles onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart.

8. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes & serve warm.

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