Must Have Kitchen Gadgets

IMG_6417Whether you are starting from scratch or expanding on your kitchen collections, the spring is always the perfect time to clean out and start fresh. In our home, the kitchen is our gathering place, from the moment we wake up to after school homework and finishing the night enjoying a meal with the family. This is a place that holds our family of five or a large group of thirty on a very regular basis. With the amount of entertaining that we do as a family our kitchen and all our gadgets get worn out pretty quick and honestly it might just be my excuse for a refresh! To clean out and start fresh with all new kitchen gadgets will inspire you to cook more. These five kitchen gadgets are my must haves that I use on a daily basis.

Microplane Zester/GraterIMG_6418
One of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets…I probably use it every day! The microplane zester/grater creates a fine grate to enhance flavor in your recipes and is best used on citrus, chocolate, hard cheese, fresh coconut, nutmeg and garlic. Top your favorite salad with finely grated cheese or a chocolate cake with a beautiful dusting of grated chocolate.

Ice Cream ScoopsIMG_6393
Obviously we all need an ice cream scoop for one of our favorite frozen treats, but I have a small collection of ice cream scoops for so many other things. A variety of sizes allows you to create the perfect scoop for everyday cooking such as cookies, cake balls, pancake batter, muffins and savory items like meatballs or crab cakes.

Smart Stick Blender & Food ProcessorIMG_6399
The size of our kitchen gadgets are very important. The bigger they are and the further they are stored away, the less we will use them. The smart stick blender is a great size and can be stored just about anywhere. I use mine for soups, sauces and really anything that needs to be pureed, but the best thing about this is the food processor attachment. There is no need to pull out your big food processor for every kitchen task you have. Use the Smart Stick Blender and Food Processor to chop nuts, blend homemade salad dressing, or make the perfect pesto.

Manual JuicerIMG_6387
Electric juicers are great when you are making large batches of fresh vegetable or fruit juice, but for a quick citrus juice a small hand held juicer will come in handy. There are several styles of manual juicers but the best ones squeeze the juice out and strain the seeds.

Silicone Baking MatsIMG_6401
If you have a love for baking and do it on a regular basis, silicone baking mats need to be your next purchase. I use parchment paper all the time, but there are so many reasons you will fall in love with these baking mats. Silicone mats are reusable, can be easily cleaned and I find they keep my baked goods from burning on the bottom as easily.

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Holiday Wine and Desserts…A Perfect Pairing

wines and dessertAs the holidays quickly approach, wine and dessert are two of our favorite things. Although wines are usually paired with savory dishes and coffee paired with desserts, wine and desserts can find perfect harmony while livening up your seasonal soiree. So how do you know which wines are the best for your dessert selection? There are a few factors that you need to consider: acidity, intensity and sweetness. The rules are simple: wines pair with like colors; oaky wines go with simple flavors like vanilla bean, butterscotch and caramel; the sweeter the wine, the less sweet the dessert should be. With these easy rules and a list of wine and dessert pairings, step out of the box and try wine instead of coffee at your holiday table. –

Sauvignon Blanc originates from France, specifically Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine and is very different than most due to it herb like flavors. While you are sipping on a glass, you are sure to taste hints of lime, green apple and passion fruit as well green bell peppers and jalapeño.
Dessert Pairing: Lemon Meringue Tart

Riesling is one of the most aromatic grapes in the world and is a highly acidic wine that originated in Germany. Riesling has several varieties; dry, semi sweet and sweet and the flavor will vary depending on the region that it was made. Some of the most common flavors that you will find while drinking riesling are lemon, apricot, peach, apple and honey.
Dessert Pairing: Apple Tarte Tatin

Chardonnay is known to be the most popular white grape in the world and it originated in the Burgundy Region of France. The fermentation process for this grape is done in oak barrels which brings out the buttery flavor. Vanilla and cinnamon are some of the flavors that you will taste as well as many tropical flavors such as banana, mango, melon and pineapple while drinking Chardonnay.
Dessert Pairing: Butterscotch Pot de Creme

Prosecco is a sparkling wine that comes from Italy. While sipping on Prosecco you will experience a hint of green apple, honeydew, pears and cream as well as some floral flavors. This wine can be enjoyed on its own or added to fresh squeezed juices or other refreshing cocktails.
Dessert Pairing: Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream

Pinot Noir is known for its subtle flavors of berries, cherries and cranberries. This grape is grown in cooler environments and despite being a weak grape and fairly hard to grow, the price of pinot noir is competitive to other red wines.
Dessert Pairing: Creme Brûlée or Chocolate Mousse

Merlot originating from Bordeaux, this grape has a dark and intense color that gives off flavors of plum, blackberries and leafy greens.
Dessert Pairing: Dark Chocolate Truffles or Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Port wine is the most common wine to be enjoyed after dinner. Port is a sweet red wine that comes from Portugal and gives off flavors of berries, chocolate, caramel and nuts. This wine should be paired with something not to sweet and might add a touch of salt.
Dessert Pairing: Assorted Cheese Platter

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Ink Foodie Finds

may must haves

1. Green Tea Cuticle and Lip Balm 2. Honey Comb 3. DIY Cheese Making Kit 4. Endless Summer Cookbook 5. Mast Brothers Chocolate 6. Quince Jam

With my love for all things food and specialty kitchen items I am always on the look look out for new products.  I am excited to share with you monthly list of curated small batch, artisan and unique products.  Although it is always fun to shop the markets, we don’t always have time to travel the world to find all the specialty items that we would want in our own kitchen.  I hope you love the products I find and come back each month for more!

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Dressing the Table…Monkey Style

Last weekend, we celebrated Adele’s 2nd birthday…time goes so fast!  One of my favorite times of the year is when I get to plan my girl’s birthday party.  I know planning a party is not always easy and so much time and effort goes into a few hours that is over before you know it, but it is all worth it when you see the excitement of the birthday girl or boy and all the guest that have come to celebrate!  To make party planning a little easier, I have several of my go to places to get some of the cutest supplies that will make your table a piece of art.  Here are some of favorites that made Adele’s Curious George birthday party a success.  Curious George Birthday Party

 silly yellow bananas, Red Glitter Number, Felt Fetti, Polkadot Napkin, Balloon Table Runner, Polkadot Plates, Balloon Table Confetti, Confetti Balloon, Felt Yellow Hat, Curious George Book
 Party Menu 
Monkey Bread
Monkey & Banana Shortbread Cookies
Banana Nut Muffins
Banana Pudding Shots
Pigs in a Blanket
Donut Holes
Birthday Cake
Water Bottles and Table Cards by Joy Creative Shop

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

mothers day must haves

Dirt Succulent , Macaron Soap Set, Himalayan Pink Sea SaltPhoto Recipe Magnet, Colored Utensil Set, Sugarfina Candy Gift Box, Vintage Storage Container Set

I have always loved celebrating Mother’s Day and pampering my mom with gifts but since becoming a of mommy, I realize it is so much more than the that.  Sharing this day with my mom, my sister and all the other mom’s in our family allows me to take in how blessed we are to have each other and have the privilege to raise our mini’s!  Trust me, not everyday is sunshiny, but I would not trade it for the world!  So, instead of focusing on any big extravagant gifts, make this day about each other and find something unique to share with one another.  Here are some of my favorites that I am loving right now and your mom might too!

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Spring Gardening Inspiration

garden inspiration

A few weekends ago, my husband, two girls and I spent the whole weekend outside planting herbs and new flowers and since than, I can’t stop thinking about what else we can do and searching for some tools and decorative pieces. 

So if you have some time this weekend and have the gardening bug like me, here are some of my favorites! 

On a side note of cute things…I also feel it is very important to share a solution to any squirrel problems you might have once you plant all these aromatic herbs.  We seem to attract these furry little animals and they don’t go away.  I have tried several things to keep them away and I think I have finally found the key.

Natural Squirrel Repellent: 

Diced Jalapenos
Vinegar
Water
mix the solution in a spray bottle and let it sit over night
spray on the dirt surrounding your plants…IT REALLY WORKS! 

 

Find items here:
garden cartgarden toolsplant markersplant misterchimeswater can

 

 

 

Out with the old…In with the Yellow

unnamedIf you are like me, you have been in clean out mode for the New Year and it is the best feeling!  I get this amazing energy when I start cleaning out the closets, drawers and cabinets, but after my clean out, my next favorite thing to do is to refresh some of my must haves.  This year, I am excited to vamp up my kitchen with some fresh yellow items that will inspire me to cook and spend more time in the kitchen.

My Favorite Yellows…
1. Colander-because everyone needs one….so you might as well make it a cute one!
2. Bubble Water Bottle-you can never drink enough
3.Storage Containers-leftovers always taste better in fun and fresh containers!
4. Simplified Recipe Binder-gets those recipes organized and start your ovens
5.Yellow Mug-who doesn’t love a perfect cup of coffee or tea on a cold morning
6.Egg Crate-just because it is so cute!  ink-foods_signature  

Made in NYC…

made in nyc

where to buy:
1. the salty road, taffy 2. whimsy and spice, cookies 3. no chewing allowed 4. fatty sundays 5. liddabit sweets 6. spoonable, salty caramel

Two weeks ago, my husband and I escaped for a quick trip to New York City!   With a few delays at the start of our trip (Dallas ice storms) we were ready and excited to explore the city and find the best restaurants and local food artisans.  Even after living in New York and going to culinary school in the city, there are always the newest and greatest things to discover and this is why we keep going back!  As we were planning the trip, our days revolved around where we were going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We ate at some of the greatest restaurants, but what I found even more satisfying were the markets that local artisans sell their wares.  There are so many talented bakers, chocolatiers, candy makers and chefs, but these are some of my favorites and they are all made in NYC.

on a side note…if you want a one stop shop, exploding with Italian specialties (most products made in Italy), you have to find yourself at Eataly.  We were totally overwhelmed but managed to eat everything that crossed our sight.  If you can’t make it to NYC soon, check out the website…you will be in Italian Heaven!

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