DIY Watercolor Table Décor// Place Setting Art & Favors

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DIY Watercolor Table Décor// Place Setting Art & Favors

For the Sage & Sparkle Brunch, one of the elements I wanted to carry throughout the tablescape was watercolor. Watercolor to me is so organic, fresh and lovely. Subtle, yet bold.  We focused on two projects which included the assistance of my pop!TOTs. Can you believe a 3 year old and a 7 year old created these beautiful pieces??!?!?

The first project was a watercolor canvas painting which was used under the clear dinner plate to add the watercolor thematic.  The artwork also served double function. Beyond adding beautiful color to the place setting, each guest was given a custom piece of artwork to take home as a favor.  The pop!TOTs  were so proud of their master pieces and our guests were equally impressed.  Let’s just say I have already commissioned my littlest pop!TOT to create a large canvas piece to sit over my sofa! Details and pictures to come of course.

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DIY Watercolor Canvas Art

pop!SUPPLIES

  • Canvas (We used an 8×10 canvas)
  • Watercolor Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Clear Spray Bottles

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Squeeze watercolor paints onto a palette and add a pot for water to dilute the paint as desired. This is the paint to be used for painting with a brush.
  2. To make make the paint for the spray bottles squeeze 2 to 3 drops of watercolor into the spray bottle and fill with water.
  3. Dilute the water to achieve desired color.
  4. Lay your canvas out flat on a piece of plastic or drop cloth in order to protect your working space.
  5. Paint and spray the paintto create your very own masterpiece
  6. Allow to dry.
  7. Quick Tip! Create more than needed so you can choose the best ones for your table.

Green Tea & Blackberry Ombre Sweetcakes

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pop!YUM

For the Sage & Sparkle brunch Fallon and I created what we lovingly call Sweetcakes. What are Sweetcakes you ask? It’s our version of the Cronut which is half croissant, half doughnut — the pastry hybrid created by Chef Dominique Ansel that is taking the world by storm. Instead ours is part muffin, part cake served like pancakes, but so much prettier if I do say so myself!  We are not the overly sweet cake type so this creation was perfect for our taste buds. A perfectly delicate soft sweet flavor!

When making the Sweetcakes all we knew is that we wanted a purple and green Ombré layers. As we searched my kitchen for ingredients to fit the Sage & Sparkle theme and color schematic I was blurting out possible combinations like pistachio, lime, green apple…. then I said “Green Tea!”  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not into tea. Actually, I hate tea. That’s why it was so surprising to Fallon that I even suggested it, let alone had any tea in my house.  I say that yet, Fallon, on what seems a weekly basis tries to convince me that I CAN like tea. She’s all like “It comes in soooo many flavors!” I know, but I hate the base, which is tea, so why would I like it? Ugh! You have to understand… Fallon is a Tea Fanatic! Kind of like how I am for Whiskey.  And yes, I try to convince her that it’s soooo good as well!  Brown Juice rules!!!! We are just different like that I guess. Anyhoo, I digress…..

So we decided on Green Tea for the green and fresh blackberries for the purple.  We gathered all of the ingredients and were in cake batter heaven. All I can say is that Fallon and I probably ate more batter than we should have. That Blackberry batter in particular was YUMMY! Tangy, sweet  goodness!

The final Sweetcakes were both delicious and beautiful to look at. And I have to admit it when I’m wrong about something… I liked the Green Tea Sweetcakes. Fallon – YOU WIN! I swear I will get you over to the dark spirits side. One day….

Until then it’s all about the Sweetcakes. I’m telling you… this is the next BIG thing!

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Fresh Blackberry Sweetcake

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup Fresh Blackberries
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Green Tea Sweetcake

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons powdered green tea
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease and flour 4 inch pans.
  3. Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt, and green tea powder; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until smooth.
  5. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.
  6. Separate the batter into 2 batches and add food coloring
  7. Batch 1 should be a light green, batch 2 should be at least 2 shades darker
  8. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out of the pans.
  11. Use a round cookie cutter to make the rounds
  12. Frost each layer lightly with cream cheese frosting and stack
  13. Garnish with whip cream and a Black Berry
  14. Pour the mixed berry sauce on the bottom of the plate

*Directions are same for both cakes – replace Green Tea with crushed Blackberries

Mixed Berry Sauce

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups mixed berries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp of salted butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (or up to half a lemon to taste)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine berries, sugar and lemon juice on medium heat over the stove
  2. Stir occasionally and break down some of the larger berries with a spoon
  3. Continue until all berries are slightly soft and a juice begins to form
  4. Add cornstarch and stir in quickly
  5. Turn the heat up to high and stir constantly until sauce reaches desired thickness

Angus Steak Fajitas & Mexican Corn

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pop!YUM

When I pick-up the pop!TOT from school and come home I need quick and easy meals I can make in less than 30 minutes that we can both enjoy. We both LOVE mexican so I figured let’s make Fajitas! Classic fajitas are typically made with grilled strips of skirt steak, onions and bell peppers served on a sizzling hot plate with fresh tortillas and guacamole, but I didn’t have time for all of that. (Insert soundclip “Ain’t nobody got time for that” lol)  You can easily make fajitas with packaged steak or chicken which cuts down the time significantly. Plus if you make everything in one pan there is also less of a mess. My kinda dinner. Here’s my quick and easy recipe for Angus steak fajitas and Mexican Corn.

DSC_0593Angus Steak Fajita on Soft Flour Tortilla

DSC_0568Sliced Bell Peppers, Jalapeños and Onions

DSC_0570I love the pops! of color

DSC_0582Seasoning the steak

DSC_0583Add the onions and peppers

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Angus Steak Fajitas

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package Angus Steak Strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 bell peppers of various colors, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 1 Jalapeño
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Goya Recaíto (A mix of onions, garlic, ajicitos, green bell pepper, green cubanelle and lots of cilantro and culantro)
  • 4 Soft Flour Tortillas

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Set a large non-stick pan or griddle over high heat and let this heat up for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the  oil to the pan and let this heat up for 1 minute.
  3. Add the steak and brown, then season with all of the ingredients for about 5 minutes
  4. Add the peppers and onions and stir for about a minute
  5. To serve, spoon a portion of the beef mixture down the center of each tortilla, top with your desired toppings

DSC_0559Corn in husks

DSC_0613The corn after it is removed from the oven

DSC_0615I broiled my corn in order to add a little color

DSC_0640This corn and fajitas were incredibly yummy! So much so I made a chicken version the next day!

Mexican Corn on the Cob

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cobs of corn
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 1/2 cup of cotija cheese, crumbled
  • Cayenne to taste

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Bake the corn (in husk) in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes.
  2. Let the corn cool until you can handle it and  pull husk layers down, leaving them attached to the base of the cob, which can act as a handle.
  3. If desired, to blacken, put in the broiler for a few minutes. Be sure to cover the husk in aluminum foil so that it doesn’t accidentally get burned in the flames.
  4. Remove from the broiler once desired color is achieved and spread the butter on the corn
  5. Sprinkle on the cheese and season with cayenne pepper to taste
  6. Squeeze lime juice over the corn

Mickey Mouse Pancakes

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pop!YUM

Weekends with my pop!TOT  are filled with tons of activities from the moment she gets up until the moment we pass out…. literally! We typically wake up at 7am or 8am if it’s a good day.  Today? 6:30am!!! So we watched Yo Gabba Gabba for about an hour as I tried to grasp onto that final hour of rest. She jumped, shaked and shimmied it out and then it came… “mommy what are we doing today?”  (Le sigh) Geez, I really should have put more thought into this weekend. lol

I remembered how much she enjoyed making her rainbow pancakes and thought about how we could create Teddy Bear pancakes and then wah-lah! It came to me… Mickey Mouse pancakes! After googling his face, I started practing drawing his face and then went into the kitchen to get the ingredients. Luckily, this recipe doesn’t have a lot of ingredients… just a little time which is exactly what we had!

Check out how to make Mickey Mouse Pancakes!

DSC_0448 The Baby Bear stirs the pancake mix

DSC_0474The pancakes for the face

DSC_0485I used a pot cover like a cookie cutter to create his round face

DSC_0476For the ears, we poured in Hersey Syrup

DSC_0477And then mixed it in

DSC_0487You can pour the batter into the cookie cutter or cut after the pancakes have formed

DSC_0496With any dish I usually have an additional practice dish so I can try out my techniques in advance. It allows me to tweak as needed without ruining my dishes. This is when I determined it would be better to make his smile with the batter rather than the syrup.

DSC_0497Painting his widows peak, ears, eyes and nose

DSC_0503The Final Product!

Slide1SCORE!!!! It was a hit with the pop!TOT

Slide2She LOVED it!Slide3Poor Mickey never had a chance against the Baby Bear! lol

Mickey Mouse Pancakes

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • Pancake Mix
  • Hersey Chocolate Syrup
  • Blue Berries
  • White Frosting or Cream Cheese

pop!MATERIALS

  • Large Round Cookie Cutter (6 inch) or small pot cover
  • Small Round Cookie Cutter (3 inch)
  • Small Paint Brush
  • Squeeze Bottle

pop! Directions

  1. Heat skillet over medium-low heat or griddle to 375 °F.
  2. Combine ingredients for pancake and stir
  3. Pour batter for each pancake onto lightly greased griddle
  4. Make sure the batter poured creates a circle about 6 1/2 to 7 inches or however big your largest cookie cutter is.
  5. Turn when the pancake bubbles and bottoms are golden brown
  6. Use a large cookie cutter or a small pot cover (6 inch) as I did to cut out a large circle for his face
  7. With remaining pancake batter add Hersey chocolate syrup and mix and follow same directions to cook the pancakes
  8. Use a smaller cookie cutter aprox. 3 inches to create the ears
  9. Pour batter into squeeze bottle and pour batter on griddle and create small oval shapes for his eyes, nose and draw a smile directly on griddle
  10. Assemble the pieces of his face
  11. Paint the widows peak on his face with the Hersey’s syrup
  12. Paint his ears and nose with the Hersey’s syrup
  13. Paint the pancake eyes with white frosting or cream cheese
  14. Cut a blue berry in half for his eyes

Herb Quiche & Chorizo Hash

Herb Quiche & Chorizo Hash

pop!YUM

For the Sage & Sparkle Launch Brunch the main course included a Herb Quiche and Chorizo Hash. These are two dishes that not only are delicious , but can be prepared in advance. As you can imagine, once the drink starts flowing it’s important that you adjust the timing of certain plates so they come out just in time! Once the prep is done you can pop them in the oven 15-20 minutes prior to the time you’d like to serve.  Pretty, petite and perfect!

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DSC_0129The Herbs – Sage, Rosemary, Chives and Cilantro

DSC_0133My pop!TOT cracking the eggs

DSC_0143My other pop!TOT lends a hand to add the herbs

Slide2Mix & Grate

Slide3Pour Eggs and add the cheese

HERB QUICHE

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. fresh chopped herbs (such as oregano, rosemary, basil, cilantro and scallions)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • Puff Pastry Sheets or we used leftover dough from the Raviolis

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Beat five eggs, heavy cream, herbs, black pepper in a bowl with a fork or whisk.
  3. Unfold the pastry sheet/dough on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the dough into a 12-inch square.  Cut into 6 inch circles.  Press the pastry rounds into 4-inch cake-pan cups.
  4. Spoon about 1/4 cup egg mixture into each muffin-pan cup.
  5. Top with the Gruyere cheese
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the filling is set and the pastries are golden brown.  Let the pastries cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes.

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CHORIZO HASH

pop!INGREDIENTS

Chorizo

  • 5 links dried hot chorizo sausage, diced
  • 1 (10 oz) raw chorizo sausage
  • 1 tbsp. Adobo
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. fresh garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup oil or as needed, for frying

Hash

  • 4 Russet Potatoes, peeled
  • or QUICK TIP – use Hungry Jack Premium Hashbrowns
  • 3 tbsp Canola Oil

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Using a box grater or shredding blade of a food processor, shred the potatoes. Rinse until the water is clear.I like to use a potatoe ricer to get get out the most
  2. Drain. Dump the shredded potatoes onto a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze to remove all excess water.
    * if you cheat, follow directions on box and continue below
  3. Grease the 4-inch cake pan with canola oil
  4. Fill the each cake pan cup half way with the shredded hash and put in 400°F oven for 15 minutes (or longer if you prefer a crispier hash brown cake)
  5. Cook the chorizo in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, breaking any lumps, until it begins to crumble and is cooked through. Add the adobo, cilantro and garlic. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  6. Cook the Chorizo until it’s nicely browned and spoon on top of the Hash Brown cake
  7. Garnish with herb of your choice!

Cucumber Wrapped Salad

Cucumber Wrapped Salad

pop!YUM

For the Sage & Sparkle Launch Brunch I wanted a menu that was classic, but redone in an elegant way. We started the brunch with a Cucumber Wrapped Salad. Encased in thin slices of cucumber, it was a showstopping plate with all of the ingredients being both simple and inexpensive. Can you believe I fed 6 people with under $10??? This is my type of dish as it looks impeccably difficult to create, but really is pretty simple to create. No one has to know!!! Don’t worry… I won’t tell our little secret! Shhhhh.

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Cucumber Wrapped Salad

pop!INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 6 Cups of Mixed Baby Greens
  • 1 Package Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Package of Bacon
  • 6 Sprigs of Rosemary
  • Handful of Walnuts
  • Handful of Dried Cranberries
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
    *Makes enough for 6 salads

pop!DIRECTIONS

  1. Slice a cucumber in half lengthwise
  2. With mandolin or vegetable slicer carefully make thin strips (ribbons) the length of the entire cucumber
  3. Form it into the round it must overlap itself by at least an inch so it will stick together. You do not need toothpicks as the moistness of the cucumbers will hold it together
  4. Fill each cucumber ring evenly with mixed greens
  5. Add walnuts, tomatoes and cranberries
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
  7. Drizzle each salad with vinaigrette
  8. Garnish with crispy strip of bacon and rosemary sprig