It’s Starting To Feel Like Fall! : {Fall Home Decor}

I bought this chalkboard stand (it’s Target Threshold) at Goodwill for $2.99!

I love the idea of using washi tape to help decorate.  I bought this one at Target on sale (It’s Scotch Brand)!

This mantel was in serious need of a makeover when we bought this house.  You can check out the transformation here.

Fresh Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Years ago my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta for vacation. On the beaches of Puerto there are many places where beachfront restaurants cater to you with cool towels, cabanas, drinks, etc. as long as you buy their food. We would hang out at these places all day, tasting different dishes, reading, and getting our bronze on. One of these dishes was an amazing watermelon and goat cheese salad. It was my first time having goat cheese and I loved it!

So when thinking of a fun summer salad to make for Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q shower last week, I thought trying to make that phantom watermelon and goat cheese salad would be perfect! But when looking online for the recipe I couldn’t find one just like the salad I remembered…so I took the only watermelon/goat cheese recipe I could find (this one), and altered it a little. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce (I buy organic spring mix blend)
  • Blanched Slivered Almonds (In Puerto it had toasted pine nuts…both are delish)
  • Thin Sliced Red Onions
  • Cubed Watermelon
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese (If they only sell it solid that is fine…just be sure to cube it small)
  • 1/2 Cup of Orange Juice (No pulp)
  • 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper (About 5 dashes each)

{With this salad the only thing I measure is the dressing ingredients…everything else I just throw in depending on the size of salad and taste. For example the onions really bring out a different flavor in the salad…which I love…but not everyone loves onions so you may adjust it. Also, I usually double the dressing ingredients and store in the fridge for multiple uses.}

Directions:IMG_1628 IMG_1629Cube the watermelon

IMG_1632Thinly slice the onions. I have a mandolin and I sliced, then chopped them to make them smaller.

IMG_1634Combine olive oil, orange juice, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.

IMG_1640Whisk/blend ingredients….I used a milk frother (you will need to do this before using every time because the liquids separate).

IMG_1643Combine dry ingredients with lettuce, add dressing to taste, and toss!…This isn’t tossed but just a taste test for me before the party…you know….just to make sure its good!

IMG_1783Tossed and at Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q

Quick Vanilla Peach Jam : {Shower Favor}

IMG_1690My friend Heather called me a few weeks ago and asked, “Hey friend, do you want to make jam?” Umm YES! I love jam (Apricot and Boysenberry are my fave FYI)…hopefully this doesn’t sound weird but I love it not only because it is delish, but because it is so pretty! Anyway, she wanted to make it as a favor for our friends Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q Shower that she was throwing. What a great idea! Party favors can be so boring…it’s nice to get one you can actually use. (For the record at our wedding we had a boring favor (a C.D.). Yes I got married when they still made C.D.’s). Heather found this recipe on Pinterest for a Peach Freezer Jam.

The Good News: It takes a lot less time to make than normal jam.

The Bad News (Sorta): It stays fresh in the fridge for only about 3 weeks. (But you can keep it in the freezer for a year).

We followed the recipe and only changed it slightly. That’s what I like most about the recipe; You can change it! Add different fruit, different juice flavors, combine fruits, etc. It’s just great to have a jam recipe that doesn’t take long to make! Thanks Recipe Girl!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened white grape
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • One 1.75-ounce package no-sugar-needed fruit pectin (or 3 tablespoons from a jar)
  • 5 to 6 medium peaches, peeled, diced and coarsely pureed in the food processor (3 cups of puree)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Five 8-ounce freezer-safe glass jelly jars

Directions:

IMG_1467IMG_1463IMG_1468 IMG_1476Put peaches in a pot of boiling water until the skins loosen (about a minute). *NOTE: The longer you leave them in the water the less firm your peaches become and they could break down…..so keep an eye on them.IMG_1477IMG_1479Then transfer peaches to a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds.
IMG_1473IMG_1475Peel skin off the peaches (this is the fun part).
IMG_1484Chop peaches. IMG_1480Puree the peaches roughly. (You don’t want them completely smooth)
IMG_1486IMG_1490Bring grape juice and lemon juice to a boil. Then whisk in the pectin completely and let it boil for 1 minute.
IMG_1491Stir in 3 cups of peach puree, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. IMG_1495Bring back to a boil and keep at a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.IMG_1498Divide the hot mixture between the jars (ours made more than 5 for some reason and we used tupperware which worked great too), leaving 1/2-inch room at the top of each jar . Place the tops on the jars and let them sit at room temperature until they are completely cooled off (12 to 24 hours). Then refrigerate or freeze!IMG_1504IMG_1911Attach a label or instructions to the jars for a cute favor!

Kronut : {A Croissant Donut}

IMG_1403Unless you have been living under a rock then you have definitely heard of the CRONUT by Dominique Ansel Bakery!  It’s the newest pastry that combines the light flaky layers of a croissant with the round fried deliciousness of a donut!  The creator of the Cronut has not released the recipe yet so there are lots of copycats out their trying to create this treat!….and I am one of them!   For my Kronut (spelled differently for copyright reasons), I basically just used a croissant recipe and made the rest up from watching Dominique Ansel make them on Jimmy Fallon….from what I am getting it’s a croissant and the only thing different is that it is fried (instead of baked) in a donut shape and topped or filled with a variety of glazes, etc.

The Good News:  They were delish!  They tasted best fresh, I preferred the Kronut holes, and the best combo by far was the strawberry & cream Kronut (pictured above).

The Bad News:  They take FOREVER to make (3 days!)  Worth it?  YES!

Want to make them but don’t have the time?  A cheat/faster way to make them is to use a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (of course the taste will be a bit different) and pick up the recipe at step 7.

Let’s get started……..

Ingredients:

{For the Dough} Thank you to finecooking.com for the Classic Croissant Recipe

  • 1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 5 oz. (1/2cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold water
  • 5 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold whole milk
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. plus scant 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 2-1/4 tsp. table salt
  • Oil (Ansel uses grape seed oil but I only had Veggie oil)

{For the Butter Layer}

  • 10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter

Directions:

Step 1:  {Make the Dough} Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured 10-inch dinner plate. Lightly flour the top of the dough and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.

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Step 2: {Make the Butter Layer} After making the dough, cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to form a 5- to 6-inch square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit. Top with another piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. Pound the butter until it’s about 7-1/2 inches square and then trim the edges of the butter. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin, refrigerate.
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IMG_1126IMG_1145Step 3: {Combine butter & dough}  The next day, unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10-1/2-inch square. Brush excess flour off the dough. Remove the butter from the refrigerator, unwrap and place the butter on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough. Fold the flaps of dough over the butter like an envelope, stretching lightly. Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. (A complete seal ensures butter won’t escape.)IMG_1223IMG_1225 IMG_1227 Step 4: {Roll Out}  Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.IMG_1236Roll the dough until it’s 8 by 24 inches. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush any flour off the dough. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Brush the flour off and then fold the exposed dough over the folded side. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.IMG_1322

Step 5: {Creating those flaky layers} Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 8 by 24 inches. Fold the dough in thirds again, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover and freeze for another 20 minutes.

Step 6:  {Repeat/last time} Give the dough a third rolling and folding. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides. Refrigerate overnight.

Step 7: {The Next Morning}  Unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.  Roll the dough out again until it is about 1/2″-3/4″ thick.  Cut them into donut shapes. *Tip: Cutter should not be dull or it can smoosh the layers together too much and they won’t pop up correctly when frying.  IMG_1324 IMG_1325 IMG_1326Step 8: {Fry em up!}  Heat oil (I used a fryer but a pan is fine) to 350 degrees and fry approx. 2-3 minutes per side.  Once done, put on paper towels to absorb excess oil and cool.  IMG_1336 IMG_1343 IMG_1353 IMG_1354Step 9: {Decorate}  Now the fun part!  You can fill these, cut them in half and stuff, roll them, or glaze them!  I made a lemon glaze, orange glaze, raspberry glaze, chocolate glaze (semi-sweet), and plain glaze.  I also rolled some in sugar, and some in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Half of them I injected crème pâtissière (a vanilla custard) because Ansel injects his with something so I though I would try it.  But hands down MY FAVORITE was cutting them in half, rolling them in sugar, and stuffing with piped fresh whipped cream and berries.

Step 10: {Glaze Recipes} The glazes I made are simple and fresh…but of course you can play with them if you want a different flavor.  I combine the ingredients until it is the desired consistency:

  • Lemon Glaze: Fresh lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar.
  • Orange Glaze: Orange juice mixed, orange zest, mixed with powdered sugar (This isn’t a very “orangey” flavor so if you want to increase it you can add orange liquor or orange juice from concentrate).
  • Berry Glaze:  (I used raspberries but this will work for any berry)  Purée berries (I used my baby food maker), you may need to add a little water, then mix purée with powdered sugar.
  • Plain Glaze:  Powdered sugar, cold water, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Chocolate Glaze: I used Martha’s recipe but it is simple as well (chocolate chips and heavy cream)
  • Whipped Cream Recipe:  I used this recipe and trust me fresh whipped cream is SO much better than canned!
  • Crème Pâtissière:  I used this recipe but I don’t feel like injecting the Kronuts with this really added anything…I should have injected whipped cream if anything.

Good luck creating your own fun and tasty toppings and KRONUTS!

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Ta-Ta Weekend : {Hello Week}

Weekend Wrap-Up:

I am one of the luckiest people ever because my brother’s girlfriend’s family owns several donut shops.  So you know when you go to a celebration and bring a bottle of wine, dessert or app….well we get donuts brought!  I remember the first time I found out, it was at my sister’s 10th birthday when she showed up with a fresh dozen…..needless to say we fell in love! (With her and the donuts).  The donut shops they own not only make regular donuts but specialty donuts that need to be pre-ordered because they always run out!  The newest one they released was their version of the Cronut and it had to be pre-ordered….(Ain’t nobody got time fo dat), so this weekend I decided to try my hand at this seductive treat!  Stay tuned for the full blog about it and the recipe on Wednesday!.

The rest of the weekend was filled with an intimate cliffside wedding, making jam, blogging, beach baptisms, having a Johnston family lunch, watching Homeland (addicted), and taking cray long walks to work off those Kronuts.

My husband helped with the Kronut making of course!

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This Week:

Looking forward to {In The Blog}: Umm…..KRONUTS!  My version of the famous Cronut will be featured Wednesday!

Looking forward to {In My Life}: This week The Great Gatsby will be released to own….I will def be getting a copy, and I am going to a Baby-Q couples shower Friday night and get to cook a few dishes!  This is going to be a good week!

Roasted Garlic Spread

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This spread is great when making your own garlic bread, to put onto crostini’s before making various bruschetta’s, to put on bread before making home pizzas, or to top veggies and potatoes.  You can make it ahead of time and store it in a tupperware in the fridge for multiple uses.

Ingredients:

Makes approx. 1 cup of spread (enough for both sides of a full french loaf)

-1 Garlic Bulb (If you like it super garlic-y then use 1 1/2 bulbs)

-1 tsp Olive Oil

-1 stick of Soft Butter

-1/2 cup of Shredded Parmesan Cheese

-1 tsp of Fresh Parsley (I used dry this time which is ok too)

IMG_0324Peal outer layers of bulb and chop top off.
IMG_0327 Cloves should be exposed.IMG_0331Place in cupcake tin and brush top with olive oil.IMG_0332Wrap foil over top of bulb and bake for 30-35min at 400 degrees. (Cloves should be soft.  If you over roast, then they will be too hard to spread).
IMG_0335Mix parmesan cheese and butter.

IMG_0337Add parsley, then whisk mixture with fork to make it lighter.

IMG_0341Let garlic cool for 2 minutes before removing the cloves, this will help the garlic to separate a bit for better extraction.  Then using a fork you can just pop them out.

IMG_0356Mix them in, then spread or store!

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Store for later or jar it for your foodie friends!

Ta-Ta Weekend : {Hello Week}

Weekend Wrap-Up:

Can we say DUTCH BABY?!  Yes folks I finally tried it!  My friends and family have been telling me to visit The Original Pancake House and taste this deliciousness…..so this weekend the whole Johnston clan did!  I need to learn how to make this…it tastes like a combo between a crepe and a pancake.  It is best with butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice….this makes it taste basically like a light lemon bar.  We ordered a side of blueberry compote on the side for it too…so good!   The great thing is it is big enough to share and it is so light you don’t feel weighed down.

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I thrifted and found these candlestick holders for DIY Cake Plates Coming Soon! (These make great gifts for people).

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Dancing to One Direction on Just Dance + Our friends and their 6 children (yes 6!) = #BlessedIMG_0394IMG_0403IMG_0396IMG_0395

And of course we had a 6 month photo shoot! (Although she was mostly interested in my phone and her sticker)

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This Week:

 I want to sleep and plan DIY’s….I wish I could do both at the same time haha.  

Looking forward to {In The Blog}:  There will be a few recipes, a beauty tip, and a look into me being “uncool.”  Be sure to check them all out!

Looking forward to {In My Life}:  I love being intentional with gifts.  Don’t get me wrong, I love gift cards and giving them, but I also love to surprise people with gifts that take time.  So I have a few gifts I am working on right now that really excite me and I will feature them on the blog once they are given…sorry for the secrecy!

Sweetly Lemon Photo Shoot

When I decided to launch Sweetly Lemon I, of course, had to have a mini photo shoot….who dosen’t love photo shoots, right?  (Insert a ton of annoying and funny hashtags here like: #makesmefeellikeamodel #anyexcusetogetcutepicsofmybaby #lotsofpeoplehatephotoshoots #stophashtagging.)

My love for photo shoots probably started because I don’t have a good camera or know anything about photography, but I love the end result of quality photos.  This, of course, makes me so thankful that I have a number of friends who do get this whole photography thing, including my friend Jenny who took these photos and was more than willing for an impromptu photo shoot.

I wanted the photo shoot to take place in my home, which I love, and surrounded by those I love (My hubby and baby girl, Evangeline).  I wanted pictures that were warm and bright and of course had dashes of yellow!  Unfortunately, the hubs couldn’t make it, but I thought Jenny captured everything else I was looking for.

Hope you enjoy the pics (my daughter is adorbs so it won’t be that hard to enjoy)!

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DSC_6680 - Version 2My daughter and I spend a lot of time together in the kitchen.  She sits in her high chair with her wooden spoon while I cook, sing and talk to her….it is one of my most cherished times together.