The 4th of July holiday is always a high point of my summer. Maybe it’s memories of growing up with a family that had no qualms about handing off sparklers and small firecrackers to all the kids after a day of barbecuing. Gathering in the woods behind my grandparents house, we’d chase each other, write our names in the dark until the sparklers burnt our fingers, and light off bottle rocket after bottle rocket until we’d run through the pack. Fireworks, and staying up extra late to play with them, were the highlight of the holiday.
Even though the 4th has passed, simply being at the halfway point of summer fills me with a desire to hold on to the color and spark of those fireworks. So when I saw these bright orange and yellow marigolds, I felt instantly inspired to make this summer cocktail.
In addition to providing a pop of color, marigold petals have a sharp, citrusy flavor that’s a nice accent to richer tropical flavors like pineapple and passionfruit. Combined, these elements make for a very fruity cocktail. But it’s tangy, sweet and SO refreshing. The bright colors evoke summer sunshine, and the marigold petals eventually turn the cocktail to a golden saffron color (marigold being, after all, the poor man’s saffron). It’s a great way to kick off your sunny summer afternoon and work your way toward dusk and the promise of fireworks to come.
photos by Elana Lepkowski
- 1-½ ounces London Dry Gin (try SW4!)
- 1 ounce Pineapple Syrup (see recipe below)
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ ounce Passion Fruit Syrup (Monin makes a great bottled version)
- small handful of marigold petals (about 1 tablespoon)
- whole marigolds for garnish
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup cubed pineapple chunks
- Make the Pineapple Syrup. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for about an hour. Strain into an airtight container. Will keep refrigerated up to a month.
- Combine everything in a shaker ⅔ filled with ice. Shake well to combine for 20 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with marigolds.
Class is back in session! If you missed our Summer Freutcamp at Darling Magazine’s headquarters, I sure hope you will join us in the Fall. Two days of networking, social media, business of blogging, inspirational speakers, and of course lots of good food and fun awaits you. Fall Freutcamp will be held here in Los Angeles, October 18th & 19th. Tickets are on sale so go grab yourself a seat!
WHAT IS FREUTCAMP: Freutcamp is a branding, social media & business bootcamp for bloggers. The goal of Freutcamp is to give bloggers, small business owners, and creative individuals of all levels the tools needed to run a better, more successful, and creative blog. Class will cover the basics of branding, tips for better social media usage, information on monetizing your blog, how to approach working with sponsors, finding a unique voice in the blogging world, and tons of creative inspiration. As a graphic designer and brand social media manager I am excited to share my knowledge and experience with you! Take a look at our Summer Class re-cap here.
LOCATION: Los Angeles, California.
TICKETS: 20 seats are available total so get yours quick! Because I believe that discount codes make everything better, enter the code: EARLYBIRD to save $100 on the price until August 1st. Regular priced tickets will be $399. Tickets are available at www.freutcamp.com
Hola from Mexico! Ok, so I may have written this post before setting off for fabulous Tulum, but what better time to share my recipe for Mexican Chocolate Paletas then while south of the border? Recently I developed a whole bunch of tasty frozen and blended recipes for Almond Breeze using their almond milk and this recipe was one of my favorites!
Paletas are traditionally flat in shape and made using fresh fruit. I took a few liberties with this version freezing them in little round cups and making mine chocolate. I don’t think anyone’s complaining. The mix of dark chocolate, spicy chili, cinnamon, and raw sugar is always a winner hot or cold and when frozen into Paleta form, it’s a real summer treat!
photos by Leah Bergman
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. For more of the recipes I created for Almond Breeze, visit their Facebook Page. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to continue creating new content for Freutcake!
- 3 cups Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- Turbinado sugar for garnish, optional
- In a small pot combine all ingredients, heat and whisk until combined.
- Cool and pour into ice pop molds or small cups. Insert wooden sticks and freeze.
- Garnish with turbinado sugar if desired.
While Leah’s sipping margaritas on the beach in Tulum, I say we have our own little south-of-the-border staycation, no carry-on needed! Any objections?
Here’s the plan: This weekend, find a friend with beach or pool access and invite yourself for the day. Tell her your bringing snacks and booze, she won’t mind. (Hi mom, I’m coming over!) Pack your tote with the essentials. I’m talking fave swimsuit, tequila, magazines, your cutest cover-up, sunscreen (of course), and the ingredients for your nibbles below. You could show up with chips and guacamole from the grocery store but where’s the fun in that? This is your well-deserved staycation—treat yourself!!
I’ve never been to Mexico but it’s high on my list. In my imagination, savory snacks show up poolside loaded with fresh veggies and lots of salty-spicy flavor. If that’s not the case, shhh! Let me dream…
To recreate that experience at home, I came up with these no-cook, bite-size “nachos” topped with creamy avocado, a quick corn salad, crumbly cheese and red jalapeno. Each chip is perfectly dressed and ready for munching. One whole tray only takes about 15 minutes to assemble (so speedy) but bonus points if you can get a cute guy to make ‘em for you instead! Feel free to tweak this recipe to you taste (nix the garlic, add cilantro, take out the mayo) but whatever you do, make sure you toast your down-day with one of Leah’s famous cocktail—I think this tropical one would do the trick!
photos by Erin Phraner
- 1 large ear corn
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 to 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 c. crumbled cotija or low-fat feta cheese, plus more for topping (optional)
- Kosher salt
- 1 avocado, halved and seeded
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 red jalapeno chile pepper or similar, very thinly sliced (optional)
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- Cut the kernels off the cob using a chefs knife; transfer to a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice, the mayonnaise, cotija and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
- Scoop the avocado into another small bowl using a spoon. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic, and pinch of salt and mash until combined.
- Divide the avocado mixture, corn mixture, and jalapeno slices among tortilla chips—about 1 teeny scoop each! Top with more cotija, if desired.
It may be the Mexican vacation planning or all of the recent summer days spent at the beach, but lately my mind has been on shopping for swim! This just so happens to be the perfect time of year to score some pretty amazing deals on current season suits and cover ups. Here are just a few (on SALE) pool or beach ready pieces I’ve been admiring! And speaking of swimwear, grab your sunglasses, did you know that the beaches in Tulum are mostly nude? Yowza! Maybe it’s the American in me but I don’t think I could ever go nude at the beach…you?
*Oh, and today J.Crew Swim is an additional 40% off with code: SALEFUN…I mean come on.
Hey guys! Jacquelyn here from Lark & Linen holding down the fort while Leah is off in sunny Mexico! I can’t tell you how excited I am – both to be here, and that Leah is actually taking a vacation! I’ve never known anyone who works as hard as she does, and I can tell you it’s much deserved.
While she’s sunning herself on the beach, cocktail in hand, I thought it’d only be fair that we pretend to do the same. This concoction is, no joke, my all time favourite summer beverage. It’s super light and refreshing, with just the right amount of sweetness. And with peach season in full swing, it’s basically a no brainer. But drinker be warned: these bad boys go down easy, so self control is of the essence! Cheers!
photos by Jacquelyn Clark
- 2 white peaches, sliced
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp. peach simple syrup
- 1 oz. gin
- A pinch of superfine sugar
- Club soda
- Peach slices & blueberries for garnish
- Place peaches, water and sugar in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes until peaches are macerated. Reduce to low and let simmer until liquid is reduced by half (12 minutes or so).
- Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, strain through a fine mesh sieve. (Note: reserve the peaches if you'd like. They're like candy at this point. I may or may not have put them on vanilla ice cream when they were still warm. Good life decision.)
- Pour simple syrup into the bottom of a glass.
- Add gin and superfine sugar and mix.
- Top with club soda and garnish with a floating peach slice and a few blueberries.
White sand beaches, Caribbean waters, an entire week of pure relaxation and fun…tomorrow morning Jason and I jet off to Tulum, Mexico for a full blown vacation royale! As many of you know, our “vacations” usually consist of work meetings, trade shows (for Jason), and nights spent working in hotels rooms. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for us to disconnect! Thankfully this trip should remedy that real quick. I plan to drink in my fill of the tropical sun, breath deeply those gorgeous trade winds, and eat all of the Mexican food and frozen drinks I can handle. I refuse to turn my phone on in the spa, (I’ve been known to check emails in the locker room), and I promise myself to take at least three naps. Yes, I honestly haven’t been this excited to get away since our honeymoon…and between us, I might be even more excited.
photo by Oliver Davis, via Fickr
Starting tomorrow, I have some great friends stopping by the blog to guest post and hold down the fort while I’m away. For starters my friend Jacquelyn of Lark & Linen will be here Friday mixing cocktails and next week Erin Phraner of Food & Femininity will be braking away from her 5-Ingredient recipes to share an at-home staycation plan that requires tequila and an outrageously delicious recipe.
As for Tulum, I will of course be sharing bits or our trip via Instagram and I promise to take a million pictures to post when I return. Now I’m off to convert my dollars to Pesos and brush up on my conversational Spanish, “Una Margarita por favor.”
Have you traveled to Tulum? I would love your recommendations!
Call me nostalgic but I love a good Pineapple Upside-Down Cake! Second to ice cream cake, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is the quintessential summer cake in my opinion. A moist yellow cake topped with gooey baked pineapple slices in a butter & sugar syrup and dotted with maraschino cherries, what’s not to love?
It has been years since I last made a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake because Jason doesn’t care for it and I fear what will happen if I am left alone with a whole cake to myself. (Bad, bad things will happen I can tell you that much)
This last weekend I finally broke down, bought a can of pineapples and set to making this classic cake. The smell of pineapples, butter and brown sugar baking away is enough to drive anyone mad with hunger. It just might be the most delicious smelling cake that ever baked to golden brown goodness in my oven.
Forty plus minutes later it was time for the unveiling. As I inverted the cake onto a plate, marveling at the translucent jewels of pineapple and cherry, I wondered why I had waited so long!
I sliced myself a wedge, topped it with creamy vanilla ice cream and dug right in while the cake was still warm. It was just as dreamy, gooey and sweet as I had remembered if not better. I then carefully wrapped up the remaining cake and drove it right over to give to Jason’s Grandparents. After-all, cake is best enjoyed when you have someone to share it with.
photos by Leah Bergman
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 20-ounce can pineapple slices
- maraschino cherries
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a pan melt butter over low heat.
- Pour the butter into a 9-inch round cake pan. Use a paper towel to spread butter up the sides of the pan as well.
- Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.
- Add 1 whole pineapple slice to the center of the pan.
- Halve the remaining slices vertically. Arrange the slices in a fan-like shape around the cake.
- If you have left over slices use them around the sides of the cake pan.
- Place 1 cherry in the center of the whole pineapple slice in the middle of the pan and additional cherries around; set pan aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don't overmix.
- Pour batter out into prepared pan, being careful to not disturb the pineapple slices on the sides or bottom. Note: if you pan is on the smaller side, fill pan only about 3/4-full to prevent overflow.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until center is set and bounces back to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
- Immediately run knife around the sides of cake and place pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Place a heat proof plate or platter over the cake pan. Using oven mits, as the pan will still be hot, quickly invert the cake onto the plate. If any pineapples or cherries come loose from the cake, don't worry, just replace them!
- Allow to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. A la mode, optional!
Happy Friday, friends! First off let me apologize for my lack of posting this week. It’s been a frenzy of work and personal life that was entirely consuming. In fact, I couldn’t be happier to see the weekend and to celebrate it with one of my new favorite summer cocktails, the Melon Mule, and an amazing giveaway complements of Birch Lane.
I first tasted this cocktail a few months ago and have been hooked ever since. A fruity spin on the classic Moscow Mule, this Melon Mule mixes melon vodka, fresh cantaloupe, lime juice, and ginger beer.
Like biting into a chilled slice of cantaloupe, Melon Mules are the definition of a refreshing summer drink. While I am not a huge fan of flavored vodkas, I much prefer to muddle in fresh ingredients, Grey Goose makes deliciously fresh melon flavored vodka called Le Melon that I always use.
Because a Mule of any kind, melon or traditional, simply tastes better served in real copper mugs, I am teaming up with Birch Lane to give a set of 4 Hammered Copper Mule Mugs to one reader today. Lucky, lucky you! So here’s what to do: muddle, shake, pour, repeat and enter the giveaway! I guarantee you will be making these Melon Mules on repeat all summer long and enjoying them in those frosty copper mule mugs. Cheers!
For more photos on how-to make this Melon Mule visit my post on Style Me Pretty Living today!
Melon Mule Cocktail – adapted slightly from Grey Goose
1 1/2 parts Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka
3 parts ginger beer
1/4 cup diced cantaloupe
1/2 lime, juiced
cantaloupe slice for garnish, optional
1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice; muddle cantaloupe and juice from 1/2 lime.
2. Add in vodka and shake until well chilled.
3. Pour into a copper mule mug filled with ice.
4. Top with ginger beer
5. Garnish with a cantaloupe slice, optional
Here’s How to Enter:
Note: This giveaway is now closed.