It’s pretty warm here in southern California and I’ve been dreading turning on my oven to make desserts for my next cookbook Farm-to-Table Desserts. The solution? Chilled, very chilled, dessert soups!
The markets are overflowing with melons right now. There are so many types to choose from but for chilled soup my preference is cantaloupe. Its beautiful orange hue is so appetizing and its flavor is not too mild or strong for my tastebuds. Cantaloupe soup is best served chilled along with some fresh raspberries.
I like to add a little cilantro and fresh lemon juice to round out the soup’s flavor profile.
p.s. Don’t forget to purchase my new cookbook Beach House Brunch on Amazon here!
Happy Summer everyone! Last week was the much anticipated Beach House Baking release party held at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. After a month full of emails, phone calls and taste testing, the Beach House Baking Release Party went off without a hitch.
I’m thrilled to share with all of you some memorable shots from the party. And if you haven’t checked out my book yet, Beach House Baking is now available for purchase on Amazon here. It’s full of great summer and beach-inspired recipes for everyone!
First up – dessert! I baked up a variety of sweets from my book and created a beachy dessert table for guests to pick and choose from. The recipes I made from my book included: PCH (pina colada highway) cupcakes, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Chocolate Cupcakes, Blueberry Lavender Pie, Tsunamis and Coco Hut Macaroons.
The reception was held at Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern in the St. Regis Monarch Beach, where I was the former pastry chef. Below are just some of the delicious canapés they served: avocado spheres filled with Dungeness crab, fried chicken bites, crispy kale chips, kobe beef sliders.
I was thrilled to have some very special guest bloggers and editors on hand. Anita Lau of Mad Hungry Woman, Valerie Mitchell of Mama Likes to Cook, Shelby Barone of OC Mom’s Blog, Caryn Bailey of Rockin Mama, Angela Saldana of Momfluential, Priscilla Mayfield of Orange Coast Magazine and Cathy Thomas of OC Register/ Cathy Thomas Cooks.
Guests spent the evening perusing through my new book in between sips of champagne and my Berry Sangria.
Lots of friends came out to partake in the celebration, too!
All in all, it was a hugely successful event that was enjoyed by everyone!
Been stuck in the polar vortex? I feel you! Just watching all the news footage of the snow storms makes me feel chilly, and I’m baking cupcakes just a few steps away from the beach. Luckily, there are a few simple steps that you can take to easily “beachify” your home, so you can at least feel like you’re near the beach (or even better, scan through my Beach Town Baking archives and find a beachy dessert recipe to help whisk you away to the tropics!)
This post is going to focus on specific pieces of furniture that can help you achieve that beach environment right at home. Even if your home or apartment already has its own inherent design, adding just a few key pieces of furniture can help transform your space into a tropical getaway.
When choosing furniture, try to stick with natural materials like rattan, which makes a good choice for both indoor and outdoor furniture. It also takes to paint well so you can change its color if it doesn’t match your existing palette. Wicker is a popular weaving technique that many rattan pieces have. Check out these gorgeous wicker and rattan chairs– they look so inviting and relaxing, don’t you agree?
Another natural material to consider is bamboo. This eco-friendly material is inexpensive and I love it because it is extremely durable and doesn’t swell or shrink.
When it comes to pillows, the more the better! Everything about beach décor should scream relaxation. Look for fun beach sayings or colors of the ocean such as beige, blue, green or white.
If you need a floor covering, I recommend handwoven rugs. You can purchase a rug with straightforward beach designs such as palm trees, sailboats or ocean creatures like sea turtles and fish. But if you prefer a subtler beach-related design, look for stripes or herringbone.
Lastly, adding a hammock is a quick and easy way to beachify your porch.
Which one of these things are you going to incorporate into your space for an easy, beachy upgrade?
With summer in full swing, it’s time for us to take advantage of the beach weather while we can and spend as many afternoons down by the shore as possible. As much as I love the feeling of the sun beating down on me, I have to admit, summers can take a toll on my body (mostly in a good way!), and sometimes I need to give myself a little spa treatment to recover from the mini beach getaways (a vacation from a vacation, that is!). Here’s my little after-sun routine that I do after every beach trip that helps take away the fatigue of the heat and makes me feel glowing and sun-kissed:
Scrub Away the Day: Stripping away those layers of sunblock, sweat, dirt and sand is the first step to feeling exponentially better. My favorite body exfoliating tool is the Salux towel, a nylon cloth that leaves my skin feeling silky smooth after a good scrub down. And unlike traditional exfoliating tools, the Salux towel dries quickly and doesn’t turn into a breeding ground for bacteria. And, these things last forever! You know it’s a good product too when it’s won numerous awards! You can find the Salux towel here or at a local Japanese market.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize: It’s essential to keep your skin as hydrated as possible post sun exposure. Make sure you’ve exfoliated (see above!) before moisturizing, or else the lotion won’t penetrate through to your skin. My after-beach lotion of choice is the Amazing Maui Babe After Browning Lotion. Hailed as the Islander’s secret, this lotion has the right dose of vitamins and moisturizers (aloe, macadamia nut oil and antioxidants, oh my!) to return my skin back to a soft, supple state, and never leaves me feeling greasy. Bonus points for making my tans last longer! You can find this lotion on Amazon here.
Soak Up H2O: Most of us are slightly dehydrated on a daily basis, but throw in a full day of sun, and you can imagine how parched our bodies can get! I can’t emphasize this enough, but remember to hydrate at the beach, and also drink lots of water post-sun. Yes, water can be boring, but you can always infuse it with fruits and herbs to make it more interesting. I like to slice up fresh cucumbers, throw in a little bit of mint and a squeeze of lime into a pitcher of water. Bonus: Use the cucumbers as a soothing face mask after you’ve finished your water concoction.
What’s your after-beach care routine?
When I’m at the beach (which is quite often!), I always seem to pick up a pretty shell or two and pocket them as mementos. Slowly, these shells have accrued in the corner of my house, and I finally decided that I had to do something about the situation and find a way to put them to good use. There are tons of craft ideas out there for repurposing shells, but these are my favorite! Here are three great projects to turn your beach souvenirs into lovely home trinkets:
1. Shell Collection Display: An easy way to use your seashell collection is to put them out for the world to see. Find apothecary jars and glass vials at flea markets and thrift stores to use as displays for your collection. If you’re a world-traveler, start collecting sand and shells from beaches that you’ve visited, and put them in their own bottle. Add labels and make note of where each jar came from. Your display will not only look stunning in your home, but will be a great conversation starter about your travels for guests!
2. Seashell Lights: I saw this picture on Marthastewart.com and I knew I had to make this! Sure, you can probably buy these lights from her site, but I figured this project was simple enough (and cheaper!) to do on my own. Go to your local hardware store and buy a set of white tree lights (or go through your garage and find old Christmas lights! I’d rather avoid the hassles of untangling, though) Take each of your shells and, using a pair of tweezers, carefully superglue them onto the string in front of each bulb. Let dry, hang and enjoy!
3. Shell Dish: I love this one because it’s so simple. The hardest part about this project will be finding a big enough shell. Once that’s done, you’ll need to make sure that all of the living tissue on the shell is gone. You can do this by either boiling it or freezing it for a day or two. After the shell is clean, simply use it as a soap dish in your kitchen or bathroom.
So simple and fun, right? Which one of these three projects is your favorite?
Usually, I dress pretty low-key to the beach, but sometimes it’s nice to be a little fashion-forward, too! Going to the beach doesn’t strictly mean wearing a bikini and shorts; here’s my little guide on how to dress at the beach for any type of occasion:
1. Just a beach day: A simple sundress or a wrap in a bold color or pattern worn over a cute bathing suit is the way to go. Grab some gladiator sandals and oversized sunnies, and throw your hair up in a bun. If you want to get a little fancier, some gold or wood bangles are a great way to “dress up” your look without overdoing it.
2. Stroll Along the Pier: Pair patterned shorts with a white tank for an effortlessly chic look. Dress it up with a statement necklace and a pair of embellished but comfortable sandals. Remember to bring a light cardigan to throw on just in case the breeze begins to pick up!
3. Dinner Overlooking the Sea: Beach style should always be simple, so for a more formal occasion, a maxi dress is an easy way to instantly transition from a laid back daytime look to elegant evening attire. Add a pair of wedge sandals, a gold chain necklace and bracelet, and take down your bun to let your hair fall down in natural waves.