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.

Taste of Nature Tasting Party #realtastesgood

6 yummy varieties of the @tasteofnature bars!  #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHow exciting for you!! This is the first sneak peek of the fun creative retreat Lauren and I put together in Palm Springs a few weeks ago!  I can’t wait to share the rest of it with you!  This year’s retreat took place in a private home and we knew we would need to have snacks for the girls.  It’s always so hard to please everyone but we knew that since we would all be in bathing suits most of the weekend, the girls would want something healthy, but delicious, and super easy to eat throughout our busy itinerary. Taste of Nature bars proved to be the perfect snacking option!  We decided to welcome everyone to our fun, inspiring weekend with a little tasting party.

@tasteofnature are perfect road trip snacks and to have on hand for girl's weekends! #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA good hostess always knows exactly what she is serving to her guests.  My co-host Lauren and I sampled them on the way to Palm Springs.  These bars are the perfect road trip food.  They are sweet, thanks to the dried fruits (but with no artificial sweeteners and are under 200 calories), crunchy (they use whole nuts and other quality ingredients) and are certified organic and vegan and non-gmo.  That’s a good snack! I plan on keeping one in my purse so I always have a healhty snack option when running around with my boys.

@tasteofnature tasting party #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe set up a little display of the Taste of Nature bars.  We made sure the girls knew that there were plenty for them all weekend long and to remember which flavors they loved for later.

Chit chatting with friends at a @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe girls arrived and began getting to know each other (we had 8 people total and for some, it was the first time meeting each other!). As the weekend was cocktail themed, we made sure that the bar was set up when they got there, but most gals wanted to try out the bars and make sure they had a little something in their stomachs before imbibing.

Friends at my @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMost of the girls hadn’t heard of the Taste of Nature bars before so they took their time reading the packaging and learning about the brand.  And of course trying all the different flavors. Locally, I can find Taste of Nature bars at Mother’s Market and Wholesome Choice.  To find them at a natural-focused store near you visit their store locator.

@tasteofnature tasting party in Palm Springs.  #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEveryone picked their favorite flavors.  Mine was California Almond Valley.  So good!

@tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTammy liked the maple.

DIY Painted Paddle Ball for my @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe set out some DIY painted smash ball sets for the girls to play with in between snack bars.

@tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese bars were awesome and I’m glad I got to share them with my creative ladies! Taste of Nature believes that #RealTastesGood and keeps their products free from artificial flavors, fillers and chemicals. Shouldn’t everyone have that mission when creating products?  They should. But all snacks are not created equal. The bars come in 6 flavors and cost about $1.99 per bar. We sent some of the leftover bars home with each girl so she had a healthy snack option when she got home.

Thank you Taste of Nature for providing snacks for our retreat!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Pressed Juices for Keeping Cool this Summer

Fresh pressed juices to keep you cool this summer.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com*I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Evolution Fresh. I received coupons for EvolutionFresh juices to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I might be sort of addicted to pressed juices.  They just taste so fresh and have such fun flavor combos.  We have a few juice places by my house but sometimes I feel weird going in there for a juice.  Those people are pretty fanatical about it.  It’s a little overwhelming to me.  And I’m never going to do a juice cleanse.  Like, ever. I need to chew. I love that I can find Evolution Fresh juices in my market. I can easily add them to my cart when I’m doing my regular grocery shopping (I know all my local Ralphs and Albertson’s carry it as well as smaller, more health focused markets like Mother’s and Sprouts.  Whole Foods carries the most varieties).  It can’t get easier than that. And while I have pretty much sworn off milkshakes, etc. for my new healthier lifestyle, these are delicious treat to breakup the water and tea.

Essentials for running errands in the heat. #sponsored  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSince they are already in my fridge, I can easily grab one when I’m on my way out the door.  When I run errands I am a madwoman.  I just want to get them done and get home to my other chores.  I would not add on another stop just to stop off at a juice place for a juice.  And because they are fresh pressed that mean they keep the nutrients that most juices lose in regular processing.  They taste like the real fruit and I feel like they are healthy.  

Keep cool in summer by grabbing an Evolution Juice before you run out to do your errands.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI know that even 100% juices can have a lot of sugar so I make sure that I drink them on days when I am really active.  I feel better about doing that than drinking them if I am going to be at the computer all day.  But then there are days when you just need a little sweet treat to get you through the afternoon.  This is a much better choice than a whole bag of caramel corn.  (She says feeling guilty about the other day…)

Drink the rainbow. #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThey say you should eat the rainbow, but I think from the photo above it is quite clear what part of the rainbow I favor… Evolution Fresh carries several green-focused juices that are actually quite tasty but they are not my first choice. Vegetables never will be.  Sorry, veggies. 

Quick cocktails with Evolution Juice #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd when 5 o’clock rolls around, there is no easier way to ease in to happy hour than with a cocktail.  The flavors of these drinks are already balanced and sweet so all you have to do is add your favorite liquor.  It can’t get easier and you are still being mindful of your waist line.  Can we talk for a second about this Ginger Limeade? Because that is my fave drink. And you hardly ever find it anywhere, let alone bottled that you can keep at the ready.  I’m in love. This is my favorite flavor by far.  And it’s not too sweet which I love. I’d really like to get my hands on the Spicy Lemonade flavor!  Imagine how good that would be as a margarita! Check out the blog, The Almanac, for more yummy sounding recipes and ways to work Evolution Fresh juices in to your daily life. 

My kids love the Organic Strawberry Lemonade from Evolution Juice.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comGuess who else loves these fresh pressed juices from Evolution Fresh?  My kids LOVE strawberry lemonade so I was super happy to find that they made that flavor.  And I love that there are all kinds of blends to choose from like the one my older son had called “Defense Up.”  He thought it was helping with his ninja powers… Be sure to read each label for allergen ingredients.  My son was unable to drink the lemonade due to it being made on machinery that also processes tree nuts.  But he was fine with some of the other flavors that were just processed in the same facility.

Make a fresh pressed juice icee for you kids for a healthier summer treat.  #sponsored //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLast summer we were all in to snow cones. We bought all those horrific sugar and dye filled syrups and the kids ate the all the time.  But this year I got wise and figured that we could make a much healthier snow cone.  Our Ninja Blender makes the best, most fluffy shaved ice!  You just throw in a bunch of ice and blend away.  Then you add it to a cup and pour your favorite juice blend over the top.

A healthy summer snack for the kids!  Shave some ice and top with fresh pressed Evolution Juices! #sponsored www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy kids love ice in the summer.  And this is a super refreshing treat or snack for them that is so much healthier than most of the others out there!

A great way to get benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI mean, look at that face.  If that doesn’t make you want to run out and go buy some Evolution Fresh juices, I don’t know what will.  Can we talk about his outfit for a moment?  Visually take it all in.  There’s a lot going on.

Find out more about Evolution Fresh pressed juices and how their processing procedure.

Thank you for supporting the brands that keep my site going!  Follow Evolution Fresh on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Summer Picnics are #NaturallyAmazing

*This post is sponsored by French’s, a #NaturallyAmazing product.  All opinions are mine.

A clean eating dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy kids ask for a dinner picnic almost every single night during summer.  And fall.  And spring.  So we try to have them as much as possible.  There is something absolutely magical about sitting outside as the sun turns golden.  Eating outside brings an entirely different energy to dinner time.  It is much more casual and playful.  And the food is always kept simple and fresh.  This picnic set up shared through out this post, however, is a dream scenario.  In our real dinner picnics, the blanket gets all wrinkled, plates get kicked over and there is grass.  Lots of grass.  Everywhere.  This is what summer picnics would look like if my kids were robots that I could control with a remote control.

Lavender lemonade is the perfect drink to bring to a picnic or potluck.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy robot children would willingly try all the wonderful and delicious foods that I love.  They would not be afraid of things that sound a little bit different.  They wouldn’t turn their noses up at lavender lemonade.  They would drink it and be instantly transformed in to a wonderfully relaxed state of mind.  They would never ask for soda even though they know they only drink it very rarely.

Fresh veggies and a tangy mustard based dip are a great dish to bring to a picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am very lucky that my kids do, in fact, like vegetables.  They don’t hesitate to grab them off a buffet table and never complain when I send them in their lunches.  Up until a little while ago, my oldest son couldn’t eat anything with milk in it so he never really had anything to dip them in.  We are very fortunate that he seems to have outgrown that allergy.  For this picnic I made a delicious mustard dip.  French’s mustard is, and always has been a natural food.  What I love about it is that is adds SO much flavor.  And it is an absolute essential for summer grilling.  It is perfect with hamburgers and hotdogs but also delicious grilled veggie sandwiches.  It also sort of inspired the color palette as well.  You normally don’t think of mustard yellow as a summer color but I think these rich colors are perfect for the time just before sunset.  French’s wants you to get inspired also.  They have a new Pinterest page and it features other great ideas for #naturallyamazing entertaining and recipes for any occasion: graduation celebrations, picnics, summer BBQs, light lunches and more!  You can follow them by clicking the image below!

French's is now on Pinterest!

Cabbage salad for a delicious and easy dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy real family has recently started eating more salads.  I’ve always loved salads so this has made me so happy.  However, only my robot children would eat this cabbage salad.  While the cabbage is really mild in flavor, the herbs would totally throw my kids off.  I loved the bright flavors of the mint, basil and cilantro.  And the lime sesame dressing had a touch of sweetness that paired with it really nicely.  Robot children are the best, aren’t they?

A vintage blanket works perfectly for a summer picnic.  #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd only my robot children would be able to eat on this vintage blanket with a mustard dip…

Wooden cutlery for a summer dinner outdoors. #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchfoods // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI decided to keep the elements of this picnic really natural.  I mixed wooden utensils with wooden plates and platters and recyclable paper containers for easy clean up.  But since this was for pretend children who don’t break things, I used my fave blue glasses for a pop of color.  In a real scenario I would probably use some clear plastic cups, nothing colored as I wouldn’t want to compete with this gorgeous blanket.

Succulents transport well and are really great for decorating picnics.  Also, wine.  You should always serve wine.  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSucculents are a great thing to bring as decorations when entertaining out of the house.  They are a really hearty plant and look great.  I also like to use bright-colored fruits because they double as part of the meal and decoration.  My robot and real children love cherries.

Mustard is all natural and a great way to add flavor to summer picnic dishes!  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEating healthier, more clean, doesn’t have to be boring.  I look for ways to add in flavor to keep me the meals from tasting the same.  I use a lot of fresh ground black pepper, fresh citrus juices and French’s mustard to add a wonderful savory tang.

vintage-blanket-and-grass-picnicThis has been a tale of my robot children and this fantastical picnic we all enjoyed together.  All the tips still hold true, just maybe not as a family picnic.  Maybe your picnic won’t be as fancy as this one but French’s and I encourage you to bring some fresh tastes to your table this summer!  Don’t forget to follow French’s for time-saving hacks and useful cooking tips as well as memorable meal ideas!

French's Mustard is #NaturallyAmazing #sponsored

 

Thank you for supporting the companies, like French’s, that sponsor my posts and allow me to create.  My robot children appreciate it also.

Family Movie Night Popcorn

*This post is sponsored by Pop Secret.  All opinions are my own.

Movie night snacks are essential for a good family night!  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo you guys have family movie night?  We try to but sometimes we just get started too late and end up having family TV night.  Either way, the treats look the same.  There is always candy.  And there is always popcorn.  We managed to get started early enough the other night so we got comfy on the couch and hung out together.  But one thing that has always plagued us is how to get the perfect family movie night popcorn. 

Family movie night needs Pop Secret and the #perfectpop app!  #goodbyeburnedpopcorn #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA love of microwave popcorn runs in my family.  So much so that we refer to it as micro poco.  Say it.  You know you want to.  I can’t tell you how much popcorn I’ve had to throw out that was burned though.  Not all microwaves are created equal.  And they totally lie about that “popcorn button” being an accurate way to pop a bag of popcorn.  Pop Secret came out with this fun new app that will help you get the #PerfectPop and it is seriously the BEST!

The ONLY way to pop the perfect bag of microwave popcorn!  My kids love this app!  It listens to your bag and tells you when it is done!  How cool is that?! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt is free to download on iTunes (iPhone 5+ only – this is totally a reason to upgrade like you have been wanting to) and be warned, the kids will want to pop bags constantly.  Just wait, I bet “popping bags” ends up in the urban dictionary and rappers are going to start rapping about it.  You put your Pop Secret bag in the microwave and follow the instructions from the bag (note: this doesn’t work on the Kettle Corn or Sweet’n’Crunch varieties, and if you are using the snack sized bag, you have to remember to modify that setting on the app).  Then all you have to do is hit start on the app and keep the phone within 3 feet of the microwave.  

The kids LOVED this new #perfectpop app from Pop Secret.  It has XRAY vision to know when your popcorn is perfectly popped! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comUsing the microphone on your phone, the app listens to the popping of your bag and tells you when it is done popping.  And throughout these few minutes, the app shares fun facts to keep you entertained.  

The perfect @prefresh shirt to wear before consuming tons of movie candy on family movie night.  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSO FUN!  I had to pop bags for both boys because they each wanted a turn with the app.  

The Perfect Pop App from Pop Secret pops the perfect bag every time! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #PerfectPop #GoodbyeBurnedPopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com While the kids had their eyes on the popcorn, I worked on putting the rest of the treats together for our family movie night.  Usually they are all up in my business about when we can start the movie, but this brilliant app bought me the few minutes I needed to get everything ready. 

Family movie night is the easiest way to spend quality time together as a family!  But there HAS to be popcorn.  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe picked Hotel Transylvania.  Because it’s awesome.  

Make sure you buy everyone's favorite candy for family movie night!  For the healthy eaters, I provide sweet cherry tomatoes!  They aren't quite candy but they are a great substitute when you are trying to be good! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe never skip popcorn on movie nights.  But we do let the kids pick out their favorite movie candy too.  Since I’m trying to be healthy, I got the 94% Fat Free Pop Secret variety and then set out sweet cherry tomatoes instead of candy.  They have really helped with my sweet tooth!  And I noticed the kids grabbed for them too.  And not by accident.  Although they were watching the movie so intently I probably could have swapped out most of the candy for vegetables and they may not have noticed.  Maybe I’ll try that next time.  Have you tried the app?  Let me know if you do!  You’ll totally say #goodbyeburnedpopcorn!

*This post is sponsored by Pop Secret but all opinions are my own.  And I love this app.  And micro poco.