Martha Stewart on a Martha Stewart Pedestal

Peach shortcake with succulents for a super easy party dessert and decorations. // cupcakesandcutlery.comThere is a time in every blogger’s life when they are reminded of their mediocracy. Sure, you get mentioned on big sites and hit a big traffic day with a viral post once in a while. You love what you do, you think you are putting out good content and you start to think of yourself as being pretty skilled, domestically speaking. And then you work with Martha Stewart. And you realize that while you know your way around a kitchen, you will never be Martha caliber. Case in point. I got an email from her company asking me to participate in a fun end of summer program.  I think, “duh – of course I’ll participate.” They asked me to make one of her delicious summer recipes that would feature their new cake stands (available at Macy’s) perfectly. I think, “Yes! No biggie.  I can do this.” So I click-through the recipe slide show to choose my recipe…each one a little more difficult or with more steps than the one before…I feel my confidence waiver. Man that Strawberry Cream Cake recipe looks good. But wait, is she making a legit cake for it? No store-bought? So I move on. And I land on the Plum Blackberry Galette

Putting together a kind of homemade ginger peach shortcake. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI’ve always wanted to make a galette, primarily because I feel like if I am going to attempt to make crust, this one is super rustic and would hide my errors. So I think, “Yes! The galette!” but as the days go on and I get closer to actually having to make it, I start to tremble slightly. Yeah, that crust still sounds pretty advanced for me. My neighbor, a baker who I had asked to spot me in my crust making, ended up with sick children and I knew that I would be completely on my own. So I decided that I would combine two of Martha’s desserts to fit my strengths. And I ended up making a Ginger Peach Shortcake, because the plums at my store looked grody and my kids won’t touch blackberries with a ten foot pole. But even that didn’t go exactly as planned. While all I did to the peaches to prepare them for the cake was add some sugar and fresh grated ginger, a tiny piece of ginger ended up landing in my eye. Martha doesn’t get ginger in her eye. Through this process I was constantly reminded of Martha’s supreme greatness. She really can do it all, and make it look easy as pie, or galette as it were. 

Super easy and delicious dessert idea. Ginger Peach Shortcake. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI stand behind my Ginger Peach Shortcake. I’m proud of it. It tasted amazing, looked pretty and is true to who I am as a blogger and person. So while I wanted to put her Plum Blackberry Galette on a pedestal, I think I’ll keep Martha up there too. It is good to aspire to be like someone else, but I think it is also important to know your own strengths and weaknesses. But it doesn’t hurt to have that little question in the back of your mind as you move through life, “What would Martha do?”

Succulents pair really nicely with bright, poppy colors. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI know many of you out there are on the same level I am in terms of cooking/baking skills. Let’s keep it simple and delicious. And then let’s make it pretty to look at.

Pale pink and gold planter with succulents. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI was very lucky that I was able to shoot this at Lauren’s house where she had plenty of cute potted succulents all ready to go. 

Gold flatware and air plants. // cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd gold flat ware for me to use. But I’m totally going add that to my wish list because, SO pretty! 

Domed Cake stands are the best! // cupcakesandcutlery.comMartha really does make the best cake stands and this domed one is lovely. I love that the white really stood out against the colorful scarves and fabric that I used. I fell in love with that peach/pink/red scarf the minute I saw it and, even better, it was on clearance! 

Easy party dessert idea. // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis easy Ginger Peach Shortcake would be the perfect last-minute dessert for a get together. I didn’t make a recipe for it, literally just sliced the peaches, tossed in about 2 TBSP of sugar and grated about a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger in to the container. Then I put the lid on and gave it a good shake. I let it sit overnight to develop the juices and it was ready to go.

preparing-peach-shortcake-recipeI did make my own whipped cream though. I mean, I’m not a Neanderthal. I took a store-bought angel food cake and sliced in half. Then I layered on the whipped cream, and some peaches laid out in a super cute pattern. I added the second layer and then added more whipped cream and peaches. Done. Super easy.

Bright pinks, blues and gold make a gorgeous party table. // cupcakesandcutlery.comI’m still going to give that galette a shot one day. A girl has to have goals. So thank you, Martha, for challenging and inspiring us. And for the prettiest cake stands in all the land.

*I was sent a Martha Stewart cake stand. All opinions, stinging eye and sore arm from using a whisk to make the whipped cream, are my own.

Parmesan Zucchini Recipe and the Pompeian Pledge

Parmesan Zucchini.  Makes a great side dish.  Super tasty! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes ever.  I remember my mom calling me a few years ago and telling me I had to make this Parmesan Zucchini recipe.  So I did and it has become a staple in our diet.  It is super easy and it is total comfort food and I think you need to have this in your recipe box too. This post is sponsored by Pompeian.  August is National Olive Oil month and Pompeian is encouraging you all to take the Pompeian Pledge, where you swap butter for olive oil in your everyday recipes.  At first I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t figure out why this would be a campaign.  But then I realized that I basically took that pledge 7 years ago.  When my oldest son was diagnosed with food allergies, I had to teach myself how to cook in an entirely new way.  Because of the milk protein allergy, butter was out.  So I only used olive oil in my cooking and other oils in my baking. Olive oil is the only thing I saute with and I even use it to finish a sauce with, in place of butter. I am glad to share a favorite recipe with you and have you maybe learn a different way to do things in the kitchen. 
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Parmesan Zucchini recipe.  It is super simple and a great side dish! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis recipe uses only a few ingredients but they are flavorful. Zucchini and sweet onion, some garlic, and of course some (a lot) of parmesan cheese.  I was excited to try out this OlivExtra blend from Pompeian which is expeller pressed safflower Oil infused with extra virgin olive oil. This oil is really great for sauteing due to its high smoke point.  The expeller pressed method means that the oil is extracted without the use of chemicals (yeah!) and it is naturally gluten-free and non allergenic (yeah!).

Prepare your veggies so they are all ready to cook. That way I don't get distracted and burn something while I am chopping something else.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI like to get all my ingredients ready before I start any cooking.  I’m not suggesting that you too may be easily distracted, but one too many times I have tried to start cooking the onions, only to find them burning while I am trying to slice my zucchinis.  Trust me, it’s better this way.

Pompeian OlivExtra - blend of Safflower and Olive Oil.  Take the Pompeian Pledge and use olive oil in place of butter in your dishes!  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEven though I use olive oil instead of butter in all my cooking, I was excited to learn that there might be better oils for me to use based on what I am preparing.  I’ve never had safflower oil in my kitchen before and really liked it. It is high in Omega 9 monounsaturated fats (I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what that is but it sounds super important) and is a good source of Vitamin E.  Pompeian also sells a grapeseed oil which I totally have to get and try now too.

Pompeian OlivExtra, a blend of Safflower and Olive Oil is perfect for sauteeing veggies thanks to its high smoke point.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI make this parmesan zucchini recipe as a side dish on nights when I am making a pretty simple protein.  During the school year, I tend to bake a lot of chicken.  It can get boring so the side dishes really need to shine.  The whole family loves this one and I know your family will too.  Start by adding the safflower/olive oil blend to the pan.

Sautee onions in a blend of Safflower oil and Olive Oil for a really high smoke point. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSoften the onions, stirring often to prevent browning. When almost cooked through, add the minced garlic and give it a quick stir.

Sautee zucchini with onions and garlics to create a delicious side dish! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAdd your sliced zucchini to the pan and give it all a stir so the zucchini can get coated in the oil.  Then try to spread the zucchini out in to a single layer as much as you can to try to ensure even cooking.  Just do your best here, some always cook way faster than the others. Total overachievers. 

Top sauteed zucchini with shredded parmesan cheese.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhen the zucchini is just about ready, top with large amounts of parmesan cheese. 

Cover you pan to help the parmesan cheese melt faster.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comToss a lid on your pan to help in the melting of said cheese.  And plate when melted through. 

Easy Sauteed zucchini recipe.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo yum!  The garlic and onion add so much flavor to the otherwise pretty boring zucchini (Sorry zucchini.  No hard feelings right?) FYI, this is also really great reheated for lunch the next day.  Or breakfast.  

pompeian logoSo go take the pledge! Visit the Pompeian Facebook page to pledge!  1,000 fans who sign up will be randomly selected to win free movie redemption codes or bottles of olive oil.  Plus every week, 5 other fans will win a Pompeian prize package.  Throughout the month of August, Pompeian is partnering with movie theaters across the country to swap the butter on the popcorn with olive oil! Not sure what the conversion between butter and olive oil is?  Check out this handy chart

Sauteed zucchini with onions and garlic and finished with parmesan cheese.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI just know you are going to love this recipe.  The idea for this recipe is not one I came up with.  I did however come up with my own measurements as this recipe was told to me over the phone in a very vague way.  It is never my intention to not give credit where credit is due. If you know the creator of this recipe I will gladly add their info, so please pass it along to me!

Parmesan Zucchini Recipe and the Pompeian Pledge

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp (reserved) Pompeian OlivExtra Safflower Oil infused with Olive Oil
  • 1/2 sweet white onion, chopped
  • 3 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (or more, or less - the choice is yours)
  • Maldon sea salt, to finsh

Instructions

  1. Prepare your veggies first, chop your onion, slice your zucchini (trying to make the slices a similar size so they cook evenly) and crush your garlic.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 TBSP Safflower Oil infused with Olive Oil and heat.
  3. Add onion and cook until softened.
  4. Add crushed garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add zucchini and stir to coat. If needed, add an additional 1 tsp of oil.
  6. Spread zucchini out to as close to a single layer as you can.
  7. Stir often to prevent the onions and garlic from burning and to rotate the zucchini.
  8. When zucchini are cooked through but not soggy, add parmesan cheese.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid to help the cheese to melt through.
  10. Once cheese is melted, serve immediately.
  11. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt to finish.
  12. Serves about 4. (or 1 - don't judge me)
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/parmesan-zucchini-recipe-pompeian-pledge/

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian.

Mexican Caprese Tostada Recipe

Easy Mexican inspired appetizer.  .. www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo yum. This summer I have probably eaten my body weight in tomatoes.  I just can’t stop.  I usually eat them with a drizzle of my fave extra virgin olive oil and some basil.  Or with a little mozzarella in standard caprese form. But on my recent trip to Loreto, Mexico I found this sort of Mexican inspired caprese tostada on one of the buffets at Villa del Palmar Loreto.  And I knew I had to recreate it at home.  It is super easy and totally delicious. And probably has its own name but I don’t know what it is. 

Tequila shots and tostadas in Loreto, Mexico at @villadelparmarl  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe shot above was from dinner one night at The Market Restaurant at Villa del Palmar.  The ingredients were fresh, the cheese was a touch salty and the crunch of the tortilla added the perfect texture.  Of course the tequila shot wasn’t bad either. 

Loreto, Mexico Baja California.  The view from @villadelpalmarl // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd when this was your view, you want to keep trying to recreate memories from here for as long as you can!  I will be sharing my full trip soon, I promise! 

Ingredients for a Mexican inspired caprese tostada recipe //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou could easily make your own tostada shells at home by frying your own tortillas.  But I am clumsy and afraid of hot, angry oil so I bought them, ready-made, from the store.  And these Mexican cheeses are pretty readily available in all of my markets so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.  Then it’s just fresh cilantro and Roma tomatoes.

Mexican style caprese salad on a tostada inspired by my recent trip to Loreto, Mexico! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe cotija cheese is salty and the crema is tangy like sour cream.  The fresh flavors of the tomato and cilantro are bold and wonderful.  And who doesn’t love a giant tortilla chip?  If this was a cooking show, now would be the time when I take a huge bite and then try to still have manners while talking with your mouth full and let out an exaggerated, “Mmmmmmmmmm.”

Cucumber margarita with Tajin is perfect with this Mexican caprese tostada. //www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt would go perfect with a margarita.  Just saying. 

Easy appetizer idea for Mexican food.  Mexican caprese tostada recipe.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI just know you are going to love these.  These are a great light snack or accompaniment to tacos, etc.  I bet you could even add some scrambled eggs to it and make it a breakfast treat. Can’t wait to share my Mexican adventure with you soon!

Mexican Caprese Tostada Recipe

Ingredients

  • Pre-made tostada shell (or make your own with corn tortillas)
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tsp Mexican crema

Instructions

  1. Slice Roma tomatoes in to rounds.
  2. On top of the tostada shell, place tomato slices, cotija cheese and cilantro.
  3. Using a spoon, drizzle on some crema.
  4. Amounts listed above would make between 1-2 tostadas. Increase amounts to make more!
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/mexican-caprese-tostada-recipe/

 

 

Garlic Basil Mustard Dip

*This post is not technically sponsored.  French’s sponsored my post the other day about a picnic.  But I also wanted to share the recipe for the dip I made.  So this post isn’t sponsored but I DID use mustard they sent me.  And this photo IS from that sponsored shoot.  Have I covered all my bases?  All opinions are mine.  Full disclosure, I bought almost all pre-cut vegetables.  And then I reused them after the shoot on friends.  There.  Now you know everything. Garlic and Basil Mustard  Veggie Dip.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comVeggies and dip.  Match made in heaven.  But I’m kind of sick of ranch.  And a vinaigrette would have been too messy (I will NOT ruin this blanket.  It’s my new fave. Is it weird to have a special occasion blanket?)  So I decided to modify a recipe for French’s Basil and Garlic Mustard (which I can’t find on their site to link to) and turn it in to a dip.

I  first showed you this dip in my summer picnic post from the other day.  But today, you get the recipe. This Garlic Basil Mustard Dip is super tangy AND creamy with a touch of heat from the garlic and herbaciousness from mi amor basil.  I added some chives for good measure.  A quick squeeze of lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a dip!  Eat with fresh vegetables and behold the wonder that is nature.

Garlic Basil Mustard Dip

Ingredients

  • Adapted from French's Basil and Garlic Mustard recipe
  • 1/2 cup French's Classic Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 6oz. containers of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh chives
  • Juice of 1/2 of lemon

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. You can leave out the mayo if you are looking for more of a "clean eating" recipe.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/garlic-basil-mustard-dip/

 

Cereal and Ice Cream Communal Sundae

Eat ice cream together with your friends.  And top it with cereal.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMmmmmm.  Ice cream.  It is one of my favorite things.  And it is something that I don’t hardly eat.  I’m not just a one scoop kind of a gal.  So I know that if I indulged in ice cream the way that I want to, I would need to buy a whole new wardrobe.  In another size.  So I save it for vacation or eating out at a restaurant and splurging on dessert.  But I thought I would share with you one of my favorite ice cream toppings.  Cereal.  Cereal and ice cream are perfect together.  Those who know me know are not going to believe this.  But people who knew me growing up know that I was super athletic.  Every summer I would go to volleyball and basketball sports camps.  Most of them were held at colleges where you stayed in the dorms and ate in the cafeteria.  One of my favorite things to eat was the soft serve.  But they never had any toppings to go with it.  So I would always hunt down the cereal.  I need crunch with my ice cream.  And since ice cream is pretty much the same as milk, it is a match made in heaven.

The communal ice cream sundae.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI knew this was going to get messy, but I really thought it would be fun to make this a communal treat.  Individual bowls are so last season.

Fruit Loops are where it's at.  Eat them with ice cream for a tasty treat.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAny type of cereal will do.  Well, except for something healthy.  The Fruit Loops were always my personal favorite topping.

Cereal makes the perfect ice cream topping. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhy does this look so pretty to me?  I would totally blow this up and frame it for my living room.

Grab some spoons and eat ice cream with your friends!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comGrab your spoons.

Ice cream and cereal.  Dig in.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd get at it.  I’m not going to lie, this can get super messy.  A lipped tray would work way better than this flat slate tray.

A fun twist on an ice cream sundae.  Make a huge one and share it with your kids and friends. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMe thinks your kids would really like this.  Do it.  I’d love to hear their reaction!