Shared posts

23 May 17:18

Good Bones

by swissmiss


19 May 15:03

tall, fluffy buttermilk pancakes

by deb

About a year ago, over a series of weekends I was up too early anyway, I went on a buttermilk pancake-making bender. I tried, well, not all, but several of the recipes I always read about, the loftys and the fluffys and the best-evers. I used, in turn, cornstarch and vinegar and unseemly amounts of butter, I separated egg whites, I rested batters, and every single one of these pancakes was consumed by happy children but not a-one of them stayed as tall as they left the pan for more than a few minutes and I was gravely disappointed. It was very possibly user error; all pancakes were made before 8:30 a.m. on weekends, pre-coffee. Regardless, I tabled it and moved on.Read more »
19 May 15:03

potatoes anna + new cookbook preview

by deb

So, ahem [taps on microphone]… In the summer of 2014 I announced that I had not learned my lesson the first time and would be writing another cookbook. My editor and agent told me the second book always goes faster; it’s like they didn’t think I’d rise to the challenge. This 2015 release might have had some (tiny, adorable) effect on a rain-checked 2016 release, but as the first Smitten Kitchen Cookbook approaches its 5th birthday, the wildest thing has happened: this second book I promised you is (at last) out of my hands and headed to the printers.

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites will be released on October 24th and I cannot wait to share it with you. I hope more than anything that it’s worth the wait.

Read more »

05 May 16:42

rhubarb upside-down spice cake

by deb

I realize that spring is supposed to be all flowers and pastels, lightness and lemon zest, but all of these cool, rainy days in the last month make me crave winter spices, no matter how many tomatoes and herbs I have planted this week (so many, eee) in hopes, despite all historical evidence, that this is the year I excel at container gardening. And so when a teacher at my son’s school brought me a bag of the most gorgeous, deeply red rhubarb (I really am this lucky), I knew immediately that this cake would have buttery, lightly caramelized stripe-y rhubarb topping draped over it. If you’re ever asking yourself if it’s been too long since you had an upside-down cake, the answer is always yes.

Read more »

05 May 14:40

Our Favorite Statement Earrings! 

by Laura Gummerman

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13

Statement earrings are kind of like Hansel from the movie Zoolander in that they are “so hot right now.” Whether you are wearing an outfit that is already bold and your ears are just trying to keep up or you choose to keep everything simple so that the earrings are the star, well, we are big fans of either direction. Some boast geometric shapes to keep the eyes interested (like numbers 5, 9, and 10) while others rely on pom poms or tassels to bring some texture and movement to the jewelry. A lot of the statement earring trends have a bit of a 60s or 70s flair to them, which is the perfect excuse to pair them with some teased hair and a solid liquid liner cat eye for a night on the town. And since gold and bright colors are the name of the game, they are the perfect summer accessory too—and just in time! If you are a “jewelry by the pool” kind of glam girl, then a statement earring with a cute swimsuit and sunnies may be just what your vacation suitcase needs…

03 May 16:02

a really great pot of chickpeas

by deb

A side-effect of doing this cooking thing for 10+ years is that people seem to imagine I’m so sort of domestic diva, eating only homemade bread and milling my own grains and not just someone with an obsessive streak when it comes to making things exactly the way she wants them. Even though I’d love to live in some alternate universe where I’d always have time and energy to make my own, I’m unbothered by frozen breaded chicken things (erm, occasionally), tortellini, boxed stocks, and canned beans; the freezer almost always contains the first two (lunchbox heroes!) and the cabinets, the latter, which is why when friend told me a couple weeks ago kind of sotto voce, almost like a confession, the other day that she’d never cooked her own dried beans, I couldn’t even rouse myself to gasp in faux horreur.

Read more »

02 May 17:54

You Want a Social Life, with Friends

by swissmiss

“You want a social life, with friends.
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day. What’s true
Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But never may have three.

There isn’t time enough, my friends–
Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends–
To find the time to have love, work, and friends.
Michelangelo had feeling
For Vittoria and the Ceiling
But did he go to parties at day’s end?

Homer nightly went to banquets
Wrote all day but had no lockets
Bright with pictures of his Girl.
I know one who loves and parties
And has done so since his thirties
But writes hardly anything at all.”

– Kenneth Koch

02 May 17:54


by swissmiss

This made me laugh and think of the good old mixtape days.

20 Apr 14:14

Float Utensil Holder

by swissmiss

Float is a multi-functional kitchen utensil holder that can be mounted underneath your cabinet or on the wall, accepting a wide range of kitchen tools for easy accessibility.

28 Mar 15:32

The Big Bucket Bag

by swissmiss

I like this Big Bucket Bag by Best Made Co. Would make for a nice hamper, no?

28 Mar 15:17

spring cleaning, two ways.


spring cleaning, two ways | reading my tea leaves

Spring is here, even if it hasn’t quite gotten the memo that that might mean bringing warmer temperatures along with it. (I walked to to work with my socks off last week and nearly froze to death, so you know.) Still, in recognition of the shift in seasons and the accompanying yen for a fresh start, here’s a little post about welcoming Spring with an eye toward being good stewards of our planet and ourselves.

Freshen your sheets, two ways:
+ Consider investing in a new thoughtfully made set
Stick a lavender sachet into the place where you keep what you have. We store our sheet sets in bags and or pillowcases to keep them organized (you might recall), and I recently started tucking lavender sachets into each bag for seriously good smelling sheets.

Clean your fridge, two ways:
+ Examine the shelves on your fridge door. Throw away what’s nasty, keep what you love (and pledge to use it). Add something yummy.
+ For just a week, challenge yourself to buy nothing at the grocery store that comes in a plastic package. See what you come up with and what your stumbling blocks might be. (For me, it’s dairy. Always.)

Wash your face, two ways:
+ Book yourself an appointment at Heyday—or at a place nearby to you—and treat yourself to a clean face, courtesy of an expert.
+ Go through your cosmetics bag and get rid of anything that’s expired, grody, or otherwise unloved. Try something new. (And swap your disposables while you’re at it.)

Scour your sink, two ways:
+ Consider a special sink scrubber set to make the job a little more—dare I say?—fun.
+ Break out the baking soda and a lemon. Coat the kitchen sink in baking soda, douse it with lemon juice, scrub it all into a paste, make yourself some tea, come back later to rinse. Admire the shine.

Brighten your evenings, two ways:
+ Nights are getting shorter, but you still might want to read by lamplight. Try swapping incandescent bulbs for LED ones. I’m curious to try these LED Edison bulbs.
+ Try star gazing instead of phone gazing. Thanks to light pollution, we can only see twelve stars from Faye’s bedroom window but you better believe that we hunt them all out every single night.

Purify your water, two ways:
+ Make sure the stainless steel water bottle you tote everywhere is clean. Let it sit overnight with hot water and baking soda. Scrub in the am and drink cleaner water.
+ If your water’s tasting funky, try a purifying pitcher, or, you know, a hunk of charcoal.

Sweep under your rug, two ways:
+ Roll up your rugs. (Try not to get too grossed out by what you find underneath.) Give them a good beating (or throw them in the wash) and lay them back down on a freshly cleaned floor. 
+ Invest in a moody broom.

Filter your indoor air, two ways:
+ Track your indoor air quality with a fancy new device aimed to teach you more about what you’re breathing in.
+ Get a potted plant—like a snake plant or a peace lily—known for removing indoor air toxins.

Bring in blooms, two ways:
+ Cut a forsythia branch or a cherry branch or a dogwood branch (or any flowering branch you can find), mash up the end of it with a hammer or a pair of clippers, stick it in water so it can drink its full, and watch those buds unfurl over the next few weeks. (City slickers like me can often luck out at the farmers’ market. Head to the fruit sellers to see if they sell their extra shoots.)
+ Rest your head in a flower meadow.

Mind your flower pots, two ways:
+ Prepare your flower pots for a little seasonal planting by taking a scrub brush and hot water to the insides to get rid of last year’s gunk. (If you’re feeling especially ambitious, rinse them with white vinegar and water solution to get them extra sparkly.)
+ If you buy plants in plastic pots from a farmers’ market or nursery, bring the pots back that way after planting. Growers can reuse them (and a lot of municipalities can’t otherwise recycle them).

What about you? Favorite ways to welcome a new (warmer) season?

23 Mar 13:50

Make Any Box Into a Jewelry Box!

by A Beautiful Mess

Saving for the drawers

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Pretty decorative boxes are one of my favorite things to have around the house (usually in little groupings with other candles or figurine type things). A lot of the time though, I love a box or container, but I'm not sure what to actually store in it! It occurred to me that most decorative boxes are actually the perfect size to be a jewelry box, and with a few quick tweaks, they can be really useful around the house as well as pretty!

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Supplies:
-decorative box with lid (I used this one, but this one would be great too.)
-1/4 yard velvet fabric (this is a good pink option)
-straight pins and sewing machine
-hot glue gun or fabric glue
-cotton batting
-fabric scissors
-cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           First you'll want to double over your batting and cut a piece that's as wide as your box and long enough to make a 1" thick roll when all rolled up. If you make them about 1" wide, then you can know how many you need to make to fill your box (a 5" wide box would need 5 rolls, etc.).

Cut and roll all your pieces and pin in place for now.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)    Use a cloth measuring tape to measure the circumference of your batting rolls and add 1/2" to your measurement (this will give you a 1/4" seam allowance when you sew it later). Cut your velvet fabric into a rectangle that's 1" longer than the length of your batting roll and as wide as the circumference width found in the first step above.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Fold your fabric lengthwise (right sides facing each other) and pin in place. Sew down the open side with 1/4" seam allowance and turn your velvet tube right side out.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Stuff your cotton batting into the tube (don't forget to take that pin out!), and repeat the sewing and stuffing process for each batting roll.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           To close the ends, put a dollop of hot glue (or quick dry fabric glue) directly onto the middle of the batting end inside the velvet tube and fold the bottom of the velvet up into the glue. Add more glue to fold in the sides one at a time, and then use a final drop of glue to fold the top flap down in place. Repeat process on the other side of the tube, and then with each additional tube.

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Place your velvet tubes snugly into your box, and you just created a new jewelry box!

Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)             Make any box into a jewelry box! (click through for tutorial)           Not gonna lie, I love that marble, pink, and gold combo together, but of course you can do whatever box or color velvet you like! I have a lot of dainty gold stacking rings, so I have to keep ring dishes and boxes all over the house or they get lost really fast! As you can see, it's pretty easy to make your own jewelry holder with whatever box you happen to love, and if you vary the size of the batting rolls, then you can have more or less rows to add your jewelry into. Hope this DIY is just what you need to keep your space useful and pretty! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

23 Mar 13:39

Not Knowing

by swissmiss
15 Mar 17:28

At Home with Katie Shelton in Springfield, Missouri

by A Beautiful Mess

There's SO MUCH about this house that i LOVE. Mostly it's how there's cute/quaint things all over, but it doesn't feel cluttered or stuffed. That bedroom is amazing. There's got to be a better way for our room not to feel so heavy/full?

At Home with Katie Shelton        Our longtime friend and ABM contributor, Katie Shelton, is giving us a tour of her home today! We couldn't be more excited to share how she's transformed our former studio house into a home for her family. 

At Home with Katie Shelton  At Home with Katie Shelton Wallpaper/Wallpaper Direct, Table/Hobby Lobby, Family Portrait/Pop Pop Portraits.

"Many of you may recognize this house from when it was the ABM studio house. My family and I were living in Springfield, MO when we found out the previous house we were renting was being sold. The home had too many issues for our budget for us to purchase, so we frantically began searching for a new place. The stars somehow aligned, and Elsie and Laura were moving to Nashville (*sniff* miss you guys), and the studio house was being sold around this same time. After much consideration, we decided that our family belonged in this 1870s historic house. I now live here with my husband, Johnny, my two daughters, Hope and Poesy, and our two cats, Google and Moonstone.  

At Home with Katie SheltonTable and Chairs/Amazon, Rug/eSale Rugs.

At Home with Katie Shelton      At Home with Katie Shelton    At Home with Katie Shelton     "I decided to keep the dining room chandelier that Laura made over, but was afraid of my style not working in such a classic space. I thrifted a beautiful vintage painting of a woman in a gorgeous gold frame and, yes, glued a bunny head over her face. I don't know where that idea came from. It just seemed like fun! The hutch is a vintage score that fits perfectly, and the pink shelf from the old Red Velvet store houses my ever-growing skunk collection!

At Home with Katie Shelton       Chair/Article, Chandelier/Wayfair, Rug/RugsUSA, Curtains/Target, Bison Head/White Faux Taxidermy, Pillows/Society 6.

At Home with Katie Shelton          "Our living room is my favorite space in our home, with my bedroom coming in a close 2nd, and entryway (that wallpaper—SWOON) coming in 3rd. I made the decision to flip-flop what was originally the traditional living room (which is now our music room) and the study because the lighting in the study was so serene and peaceful. I doubted my decision for months as custom pieces such as cabinet doors and a window seat unit were being built and we had big, blank walls. Eventually it all came together, it just took some time.

At Home with Katie Shelton         At Home with Katie Shelton            "Our wallpaper on the large built-in shelving was the first to give this room the vibe I was going for. The door in the corner of the room isn't functional, and after MONTHS of wracking my brain with how to make it less awkward (seriously, I would just sit and stare at that door), a light bulb finally went off! I had some acrylic shelving cut and painted some cheap hardware store brackets gold. Voila! The plant shelving on the door was the perfect touch behind my favorite green velvet chair from Article. It is the coziest for cuddling up and snuggling. Another favorite piece in this space is our crazy gold chandelier. I have a pretty eclectic style, and I love the quirkiness of it in this space!

At Home with Katie Shelton           Bed Frame/West Elm, Bedding/Urban Outfitters, Rug/Uncommon Goods, Dresser/Amazon.

At Home with Katie Shelton             Makeup brush holder/Target.

"I'm obsessed with picking up unusual trinkets that give a home personality, so you can probably imagine how many favorite pieces I have around the house! My vintage Playboy bunny chair that sits at my vanity is so fun. My husband saw it in a thrift store window one day while he was out running errands and rushed home to pick me up to check it out. What can I say? He knows my style! 

At Home with Katie Shelton              At Home with Katie Shelton                 At Home with Katie Shelton                    At Home with Katie Shelton                       At Home with Katie Shelton                      "My family has been in what we now call 'the Skunkboy house' for a little over a year, and it feels like HOME. It's a space for gathering friends for dinners, craft nights, band practices, and backyard parties. I've always dreamed of having a place like this. A place where my girls have their unique rooms to play and grow. A place where I sit down after a long day of working in my studio and doing all the mom things, and just look around and continue to be in awe that we live here. I'm sure our home will continue to evolve over the years, but I'm so happy with how far its come in this short time we've lived here."

You can find more of Katie on her blog, Skunkboy and Instagram. And be sure to check out a Mixtapes show if you live nearby! :)

Author: Katie Shelton. Photography: Elise Abigail Randolph.

10 Mar 12:13

1 Pot Roast, 3 Easy Meals! by Natalie

by Natalie

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

I’ve always been a big fan of my slow cooker, but I recently got a pressure cooker, despite my fears of blowing up my kitchen. I AM IN LOVE.

I’m not a devout meal prep girl, but one thing I do sometimes is make a big batch of shredded meat and either freeze it for future meals or use it throughout the week. Already having seasoned, cooked protein is such a timesaver on busy weeknights!

Today I’m going to give you a basic shredded pot roast recipe and show you three easy meals to make with it.

I realize that not all of you have a pressure cooker, so I’ll give slow cooker directions as well. You have a slow cooker, right? If not, you can have one of mine. I’m somewhat of a slow cooker hoarder.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

Okay, start off with a 4-5 pound beef roast. The cut doesn’t really matter as long as it’s got a lot of meat on it. I prefer boneless roasts, but you can use a bone-in roast if you like.

If you’re using a pressure cooker, you’ll need to cut the roast into large chunks. For slow cookers, this step is optional, but it will cut down on some cooking time if you cut it up.

I also showered the roast with a few generous pinches of sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

There’s a big “to sear or not to sear” debate. Many recipes will ask you to sear the meat on both sides before pressure cooking or slow cooking to add flavor to the meat, and I do it occasionally if I think that I’ll really need a flavor boost. In this case I’ll let you make the call. Personally, I didn’t think that this recipe needed it.

Plus, it’s an extra step and and extra dirty pan. I don’t blame you if you want to avoid that.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

We want this meat to be versatile so I seasoned it very neutrally—like a classic pot roast. Mushrooms are optional but I found that they gave the pot juices more substance, and slow-cooked mushrooms are to die for.

In that little bowl is a mixture of flavor-boosting ingredients: garlic, onion powder, crushed pepper flakes, and Worcestershire sauce (you can substitute coconut aminos if you happen to be eating paleo or Whole30 compliant).

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

Add the mushrooms and the bowl o’ flavor along with some beef broth to the pot.

If you’re using a pressure cooker, it’ll need to process on high pressure for 2 hours. If you’re using an Instant Pot, set it to Manual for 120 minutes.

If you’re using a slow cooker, close the lid and cook it on low for 8–10 hours (for a whole roast) or 6–8 hours (for a cut-up roast).

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

By now your house will smell pretty amazing and you’ll have fall-apart tender beef to pull out of your pot. Shred it with a couple of forks.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

Divide the beef, mushrooms, and pot juices into three containers. You may want to put the lids on quickly in case you have a 2-year-old climbing around. They love stuff like this.

You can either freeze these portions or use them in meals during the week! Either way you’ve got a big chunk of dinner prep done.

Here are 3 meals to get you started!

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

Simple Shredded Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

One option is to do a simple shredded beef stir-fry. If you have a favorite stir-fry sauce, use about 1/2 cup of that. I included a from-scratch recipe below.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

BBQ Ranch Baked Potatoes

Here’s another option! This one is FOUR ingredients. Okay, five if you need a garnish. And maybe six if you roast some broccoli. But still. It’s quick and delicious and you’ll be a Tuesday night hero.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

Shredded Beef Tex-Mex Salad

Guys, I could eat Tex-Mex salads every single day of my life, and boosting this pot roast with some taco seasoning is a dream come true.

And yes, this recipe has ranch dressing, too. I’m six years old, okay?

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast and 3 Easy Meals!

What would you do with a giant pot of shredded beef? I’d love to have more meal ideas to add to my arsenal!


07 Mar 14:37

punjabi-style black lentils

by deb

Because I have strange habits, I spent a lot of time one night last week watching videos on YouTube of grandmothers and other home cooks making dal makhani, a rich black lentil dish from the Punjab region. Unpolished home cooking videos are one of my favorite ways to learn how to make a dish that is foreign to me, and while what I’ve made here isn’t an authentic black lentil (urad) dal, it’s worth knowing why it is isn’t. For example, it would have a small portion of kidney beans (rajma) it in too, you’d definitely have soaked your lentils and beans together the night before and in almost every case, cooked them in a pressure cooker on another burner while making the spiced base sauce, and then together for a little or long while. The more authentic versions I looked at have a lot more butter and cream in them, and only sometimes began with an onion. In every case, the cook had a “ginger-garlic paste” that seemed to have come prepared, something I was previously unfamiliar with but find brilliant as they are so often better together, and of course all spices were added with eyeballed measurements.

Read more »

03 Mar 20:02

Let’s Share A Meal

by swissmiss

This commercial made me tear up! And yes, we need to have more face-to-face connections! (Hence me starting CreativeMornings eight years ago!)

(via Lisa)

03 Mar 19:46

This Is Coffee

by swissmiss
01 Mar 19:09

Our simple and pretty kitchen table centerpiece

by Sarah Thrifty Decor Chick
So even though I love to decorate and share ideas with you all, there are certain aspects of it that I still find difficult. (Difficult in the scope of putting pretty things around my house, not difficult in the scope of life. 😉) I've told you before I struggle with decorating bookshelves and the tops of things dressers or consoles. So once I get something the way I like it, I rarely change it up. 

I've had a wood bowl with faux apples on our kitchen table for years now but have been keeping my eye out for something new. When I saw this metal and wood basket at the Hob Lob last week, I loved it and stood there holding it in my hands trying to decide how I would use it:
Metal and wood basket with leather handles

Since I purged our home for the last time a last year, I make a point to figure out exactly how I will use a decorative piece before I buy it. Before, I would see something I loved/on sale and would buy it thinking I'd find a spot for it. That stuff started filling our house! I buy a lot less now and am much better about what I bring into the house. It's made a big difference! 

I loved the look of this basket (and it was half off!) so like I said...I stood there staring into space in the middle of the aisle trying to think of how I could use it. Took me a few minutes, but I got there. ;)

I gathered some planters and then bought one of the only plants we can have around with cats -- any type of fern will do fine: 
Fern plants for centerpiece

They never touch these (I have them in other spots in the house) but I always do a search on my phone before I buy a new plant. I actually got one plant and broke it up into the three pots -- this is usually cheaper than buying multiples. 

I've had these faux applies for years and I really wish I could remember where I got them. I'm thinking it was at the decor firm I worked for ten years ago but I'm not sure. They are SO realistic and are heavy too -- they legit feel and feel like real apples. I love using them in our kitchen because of that: 
Realistic faux apples

I found some online and they look pretty realistic too!

I just placed the plants inside and then the apples around. It's super simple but I love it:
Easy spring centerpiece

I LOVE those leather handles on the basket!

I was adjusting the light fixture and thought this was a pretty shot. 😊
Easy greenery centerpiece for table

It feels fresh and pretty for spring and will work well into the summer. It's an easy piece to change up for the fall and holidays too!

I thought some pansies would be adorable and would add some lovely color too -- but those are great to have around cats so I went with the green. You could easily do that or another potted plant like hyacinth as well. So cute. 

I think table centerpieces are HARD. I was just talking with a friend about that other day. You want it to be big enough to make a statement, but not too big that it will take up space on the table. I love flowers, but then you have to keep up with fresh flowers all the time. I also love the way taller items like candles look, but then I feel like you can't see the people sitting across from you. See? Hard. :) 

This is simple and that's why I love it: 
Simple centerpiece for kitchen table

Of course you can take any tray or basket and change it up with what you have. Anything goes! Real fruit would work too -- I like keeping it out so we remember to eat it! :) 

Do you have any simple centerpiece decorating ideas? Feel free to share in the comments -- I love seeing what people add to their tables. It's one of those areas that always stumps me! Does this part of decorating come easy for you? 

Affiliate links included for your convenience! 
This content is property of Thrifty Decor Chick LLC. If you are reading this on any other site other than or one of her social media platforms, please contact her immediately (thriftydecorchick at gmail dot com). Any other use of this content is strictly forbidden.
28 Feb 20:28

Braille Smartwatch

by swissmiss

Called it

This beautifully designed Braille Smartwatch lets blind people feel messages on screen.

27 Feb 21:02

Spicy Pimento Cauliflower Bites

by A Beautiful Mess

Spicy Pimento Cauliflower Bites (via, I admit it, I am completely obsessed with any kind of crunchy, baked cauliflower recipe. I am still WAY into this version of Springfield-style cashew cauliflower and also this Hot Cauliflower Pizza. And I can't stop, guys!

These Spicy Pimento Cauliflower Bites are crunchy, spicy and go oh-so-well with the creamy pimento cheese dip I made alongside them. This is vegetarian comfort food at its best if you ask me. 

Spicy Pimento Cauliflower Bites (via    Spicy Pimento Cauliflower Bites (via The pimento cheese dip is prefect for, well, dipping the cauliflower bites into. Although I think I like it equally as well on top of celery sticks. And I don't usually like celery sticks. :) 

The recipe below is a good size for two as a meal or you could totally serve this as a fun and different appetizer or at a party. Maybe Super Bowl food? I don't know. If you mention the Super Bowl weeks after it happened will you give yourself away as the barely aware non-fan that you might be? Hmm... I guess we'll see. 

How to make cauliflower wingsSpicy Pimento Cauliflower Bites + Pimento Cheese Dip, serves 2 as a meal or more as an appetizer

1 head of cauliflower
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon diced pimento (from a 4 oz. jar)
2 tablespoons hot sauce, divided
2/3 cup bread crumbs

For the dip:
4 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons mayo
remaining pimentos from 4 oz. jar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey, for the tops
celery sticks to serve

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the bottom leaves and stem from the cauliflower head and cut into small florets. In a food processor blend together the flour, milk, pimento, and 1 tablespoon of hot sauce. In another bowl, place the bread crumbs. Dip the cauliflower pieces in the flour mix, then in the bread crumbs. Then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and coated in the olive oil. Once you've dipped all the cauliflower pieces, bake for 20 minutes.

Pimento cheese dip recipeWhile those bake, prepare the pimento cheese dip. In a food processor combine the cream cheese, cheddar, mayo, pimentos, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Blend to combine well, then remove to a small bowl. 

Once the cauliflower bites are done, remove from the oven. In a small bowl or cup, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon hot sauce and the honey. Brush or drizzle over the baked cauliflower bites. 

Spicy Pimento Cauliflower Bites (via  Serve alongside the dip with some celery sticks. Here's just a few notes:

-I used white whole wheat flour, almond milk, and 100% whole wheat Panko bread crumbs for my version. But you can use virtually any flour, milk, and bread crumb situation that you prefer. 

-You can also use any hot sauce that you like. I used Tapatio this time, but I also really love Cholula. :)

Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions

25 Feb 12:58

Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy

by Sally Vargas
Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy

While comfort cooking and speed don’t usually coexist, this mildly spicy soup is an exception to the rule.

If you made a New Year’s resolution to eat a little better this year, this soup will keep you on track. It’s not health food — just good, healthy food!

Continue reading "Soba Noodle Soup with Chicken and Bok Choy" »

25 Feb 12:58

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Chocolate Frosting

by Sheryl Julian

Everyone needs a go-to recipe for chocolate cake. Maybe you volunteered to bring dessert for a dinner with friends, or you’ve got weekend guests, or there’s a birthday to celebrate.

This isn’t one of those dense death-by-chocolate cakes, but more like a richer version of devil’s food cake. Cover it with a thick layer of chocolate frosting and serve it right out of the pan.

Continue reading "Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Chocolate Frosting" »

23 Feb 18:10

Audi, Women, Virtue, And Bullshit


There is an annoying new imperative in the ad business that seems to have had a big moment recently at the Super Bowl.

It's the compulsion of brands to rub our noses in their virtue.

Now, believe me, I have nothing but the highest regard for people, institutions, and companies that do good work. But I have nothing but contempt for brands that hook their "brand purpose" to trendy causes and then do the opposite. You listening Audi?

Don't pitch me your high-minded Super Bowl bullshit about what to "tell my daughter" when you have zero women on your management Board. I know what to tell my daughter. It's to stay away from bullshit artists like you.

Corporations that tie their supposed virtue to trendy causes are annoying. Those that do it and then practice the opposite are trash.

Doing what's right is not an after-school project, it's your responsibility. So do what's right and then shut up about it. 

When I give money to charities, causes, or people in need I don't put up billboards. I don't want kudos for my noble principles. I just want to be able to sleep at night.

Do you, as a company, have certain values? That's great. Support them with money and actions but, please, leave me out of your self-regard. Do it because it's the right thing to do, not to impress me with your nobility.

Virtue-hustling is just one example of the old school psycho-babble trope of "laddering-up" of  consumer benefits. Often to the point at which they have no relationship to the product at hand.

It goes something like this: Shin-E-Flor makes your floors shinier, which makes your house nicer, which makes your family happier, which makes life better, which makes your dreams come true. Ergo, Shin-E-Flor makes your dreams come true.

It is very easy to talk yourself into this nonsense, and usually a really bad idea.

When I was a creative director I would often get synchronized eye-rolls from my staff when I insisted that the two most important words in advertising are "be specific." They all wanted to make ads about how our new vacuum cleaner nozzle made life better. I wanted to make ads about how it picked up more dirt.

My predilection for specificity was reinforced this week. Although I'm a little out of practice writing ads, I still have to write headlines for my blog and my newsletter that will make people want to read further.

I wrote the following headline for a blog post I did earlier this week - "Messaging Versus Signaling." It described what the post was about succinctly and accurately. But as I was writing the blog I wrote the following line of copy, "This is why Tiffany doesn't run infomercials" and I knew I had the making of a better headline. It was nicely specific, and it became one of the most-read posts of the year on the blog.

I was also fretting over a headline for my email newsletter (which, btw, you can subscribe to here.) The headline also acts as the subject line in the email. I wanted to re-purpose an old blog post called "Why I Lied," but I didn't want to use the same headline.

I played around with other headlines that were more "laddered-up" like "Why Are Agencies Afraid Of The Truth?" But in the end I decided to stick with the old headline as it was more direct, and more specific. The average email marketing newsletter has an open rate of about 11%. This one had an open rate of almost 60%.

The bottom line on all this is that we shouldn't get too puffed up, too self-important, and start believing in grand themes for all our communication.

As I once told the misguided owner of a chain of donut shops who wanted to do a campaign about their management philosophy... "no one needs more philosophy, they need good donuts."

15 Feb 15:57

Try This: Rosé Soaked Gummy Bears

by A Beautiful Mess

Rosé Gummy Bears (they're super easy to make!)I am so truly stoked to share these Rosé Soaked Gummy Bears with you today. They are the PERFECT novelty dessert for Valentine's Day (or any Bachelor Monday if you ask me!), and they're also incredibly easy to make. 

A few years back I made Vodka and Rum soaked gummy bears for Emma's bachelorette party. They were a HUGE hit! Then, this past week it dawned on me that it might work with rosé (!!!!!!). 

All you need to get started is a bottle of rosé (doesn't have to be the fancy stuff) and a one pound bag gummy bears. I chose grapefruit gummy bears because I figured the flavor combo would be kind of mimosa-esque and also the color is similar to that of rosé. I think peach would also be a great choice. 

Rosé Gummy Bears (they're super easy to make!) In a medium size mixing bowl, I combined my one pound of gummy bears with half a bottle of rosé (what's pictured here isn't quite half a bottle, but an hour later it was already almost soaked in, so I added more). 

Rosé Gummy Bears (they're super easy to make!)

Do whatever you want with the other half of the bottle... I trust you not to waste it. Haha! 

Once the gummy bears and the rosé are soaking in the bowl, just cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and set them in your fridge for two hours. I taste tested them 2-4 hours after we made them and the next morning, and I found the fresher gummies to be the best! SO if you want to serve them at a party, or for dinner, just make them some time that afternoon and leave them in the fridge. 

They are still good the next day, just not quite as flavorful. 

Rosé Gummy Bears (they're super easy to make!)    (This is how the bowl will look when you first pour the rosé.) 

Rosé Gummy Bears (they're super easy to make!)     (And this is how soaked up they will be in just a few hours! It goes quickly.) 

If you want to check on them and stir them up a few times, that doesn't hurt. But I didn't experience much of an issue with them sticking together. 

When they are done soaking, if there is any remaining liquid (probably not much at all!), drain it and keep the gummies chilled in whatever serving dish you want. Normally I wouldn't think they need to be chilled (with liquor instead of wine), but I feel like it matches the rosé theme to serve them chilled. And we care about our themes here, don't we! 

Rosé Gummy Bears (they're super easy to make!)       When complete, my gummy bears were larger in size. I wish I had saved an un-soaked bear to compare. They definitely turn into jumbo sized gummies! 

You can totally taste both the grapefruit flavor that they came with AND the rosé flavor, and they are SO GOOD. The texture is not sticky or gross, but when served together, they are still slightly wet, so I like to serve them with a spoon. 

You can keep them in the fridge for several days, but again—they taste the absolute best when they are fresh. And since a pound of gummy bears is a LOT, dish some out into cute little mason jars and give them to friends. Unless, of course, you're making these for a party (and I hope you are). For a party, be sure to label them so everyone knows what they're tasting! 

Now, I feel obliged to do ONE more test for you guys. (RED wine gummy bears?? Will they be awesome? Like a delicious sangria? Or weird?) I will report back to you soon. 

Rosé Gummy Bears (they're super easy to make!)   Hope you all have a great Valentine's Day! And regardless of whether you are celebrating it with someone you love, why not celebrate it with boozy gummy bears? xx -Elsie 

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.  

09 Feb 15:23

broccoli pizza

by deb

I've been way into broccoli lately

“What the heck is that?”
“Who puts broccoli on pizza?”
“Congratulations Smitten Kitchen, you’ve ruined pizza!”

Read more »

06 Feb 19:04

self-care, two ways.



It’s February in the year 2017 and if ever there was a time for acknowledging that we need to be gentle with ourselves, it seems this is it. Self-care is having a moment, you might say, but trendy verbiage aside, what we all really need is a moment for self-care. It’s cold out. It’s dark out. For lots of folks, spinning around on this green and blue planet feels a little more uncertain than ever. We need a holiday devoted to love and chocolate, stat. Thank goodness we don’t have to wait too long.

In a nod to Valentine’s Day and treating yourself (or your lover), here’s a list of things to do to distract yourself, to restore a bit of energy, to encourage a bit of repose, to nourish body and spirit, in the coming week and always.

Unplug, Two Ways:
+ Let your phone charge somewhere far from your nightstand. (No middle of the night Twitter catch-ups allowed.)
+ Meditate (for even just five minutes).

Take a Bath, Two Ways:
+ Get a $5 bag of epsom salts at the nearest pharmacy and soak yourself.
+ Up your game a bit with a nourishing blend of arnica-infused salts.

Read, Two Ways:
+ Curl up with a good book. I’m reading this one right now.
+ Curl up with a brand new read about good books.

Get a Massage, Two Ways:
+ Convince a loved one to rub you.
+ Book an appointment somewhere nearby and let the professionals do the work. 

Exfoliate, Two Ways:
+ Whip up a simple sugar or salt scrub in your kitchen. 
+ Familiarize yourself with a little something called body polish.

Change Your View, Two Ways:
+ Take a walk around the block. 
+ Go to a new exhibit.

Release Stress, Two Ways:
+ Do a three-minute lip-sync to whatever does it for you. (No judgement.)
+ Take a chance on a floral essence.

Fend Off Germs, Two Ways:
+ Wash your hands more often.
+ Swallow a spoonful or three of immunity syrup.

Get Cozy, Two Ways
+ Wash and dry your throw blankets. Snuggle under something fresh and clean.
+ Stock up on special socks.

Color, Two Ways
+ Noun.

Breathe Easy, Two Ways
+ Let some crystals work their magic.
+ Fill your room with a cool mist.

Flowers, Two Ways
+ $3 bodega daffs, style.
+ Zine style.

Hang Out With People, Two Ways
Invite friends over for pizza, everyone brings wine and stays too late.
+ Go to a workshop, or a book reading, or a conservatory, or a movie.

Plus, a brand-new self-care focused community.

01 Feb 20:40


by swissmiss

“Marriage: a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive and have carefully omitted to investigate.”

The Course of Love, by Alain de Botton

01 Feb 20:38

How The Blind Cook

by swissmiss


27 Jan 17:24

Creamy Double Broccoli Pizza

by A Beautiful Mess

Creamy Double Broccoli Pizza (via  The other night Trey asked, "What's your favorite food right now?" And before I could even answer, he smiled and said, "Wait, is it still pizza?" To which I enthusiastically said, PIZZA FOR LIFE!

Some things never change. ;)

Creamy Double Broccoli Pizza (via I guess I'm just a simple gal with simple tastes: I like bread with cheese on it. Sign me up every time! 

I must admit though that I do actually like to change up what goes on my pizza. And I'm excited to share this combination with you—it's got a creamy white sauce filled with ground up broccoli and then more broccoli on top. Get it? Double broccoli. And although I probably wouldn't call this "healthy", it certainly packs a big dose of vegetables, along with the cheese and cream sauce. :) 

Pizza dough recipeCreamy Double Broccoli Pizza, makes one 12-inch diameter pizza (serves 3-4)

For the dough:
1 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 teaspoons of cornmeal for dusting the pan

For the sauce + toppings:
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cream
3 cloves of garlic
8 oz. broccoli, divided (stalks removed)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a glass measuring cup, stir a pinch of sugar into the warm water. Then sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Let that sit for about 5 minutes. In another bowl combine the flour, salt, and oil. Pour the yeast water in with the dry ingredients and stir until a soft dough ball forms. Feel free to use plenty of flour on your work surface and hands as you work with it so it doesn't stick to everything. Knead a few times, just to make sure the dough is well combined, and then place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Place somewhere warm and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour until it's nearly doubled in size.

Creamy broccoli sauceCreamy Double Broccoli Pizza (via the very end of your rise time, you can go ahead and make your sauce. In a food processor chop half of the broccoli with the garlic until very fine. In a small pot melt the butter over low/medium heat. Add the flour and whisk so a paste forms. Add 1/4 cup of the cream and whisk so the mixture is well combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the broccoli mix and remaining cream. The mixture should be thick and spreadable at this point, but if it seems too thin to you, simply put it back on the heat for a few seconds or so to help it thicken up.

Roll out your dough on a well-floured surface. Sprinkle cornmeal on your baking stone or lightly oiled pan. Bake the dough for about 5 minutes at 400°F. Then add your sauce, mozzarella and remaining broccoli. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until the edges of the crust begin to brown and the cheese becomes bubbly. Top with the red pepper flakes. 

Creamy Double Broccoli Pizza (via    Slice it up and enjoy! And if you love pizza as much as me, check out our pizza archives because we've got some good ones in there. Happy dinner making! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions