Now that we’ve launched Freutcake Book Club and selected our read for April, you may be inspired to gather a group of literature loving ladies for your own version of a book club. It’s a simple task that really only has three requirements: the book, willing participants, and a desire to have some fun! Here are some suggestions for how to get started …
How to Start a Book Club:
1. Alert your friends, co-workers, and family members that you’re forming a book club and see who wants to join. Let them know that they can extend the invite to their other friends as well. It’s a fabulous way to meet like-minded women.
2. Though optional, it’s fun to come up with a name that represents your group. Your club deserves a unique identity!
3. Decide how often you will meet, who will host the meetings, or if you are going to alternate hostesses.
4. Remind everyone to buy, download, or borrow the book and read it!
5. Regularly visit Freutcake for that month’s discussions questions, recipe suggestions, and craft ideas. We will be giving tips on how to incorporate the novel’s theme into your book club meeting to ensure you and your members have the loveliest of literary experiences!
With April already halfway over, there’s no time to lose. Grab your copy of The Perfume Collector, gather your bookish buddies, and start reading with Freutcake! If you are reading along with Freutcake Book Club, make sure to snap a photo and share it on social media #freutcakebookclub, we would love to see it!
When I think of traditional holidays like Easter, I immediately associate them with family recipes. In my family as well as my husbands, we have our fare share of easy (semi-homemade) dishes that have become known as Grandma classics. Jason’s Nanie (nah-nee) has a saying for these types of dishes, “no te mates” which basically translates into “don’t kill yourself” in Spanish. Nanie’s Ambrosia Salad definitely falls under the no te mates category, but that doesn’t keep the family from devouring it one fluffy spoonful at a time!
Before I get down to the super simple family recipe, let’s just discuss Ambrosia for a second, shall we? Ambrosia salad is more of a dessert than any salad I’ve ever met, consisting of whipped cream, cream cheese, mini-marshmallows, and fruit. Some recipes may call for coconut or pecans but in this family, we don’t mess around with nuts in our dessert!
It’s said that Ambrosia was the food of the Gods in Greek mythology. More like food of the Southern-American-housewife-goddess if you ask me! Either way, it’s an American classic that I can’t get enough of. Served along side your Easter ham or as a light dessert, Ambrosia is sure to be a hit at the holiday table. Just don’t tell Nanie that I tweaked her recipe a wee-little-bit! I had to put my own spin on this family recipe; after all it might just be my fluffy legacy one of these days!
Does your family make Ambrosia salad for Easter?
photos by Leah Bergman
Nanie’s Ambrosia Salad
2- 20oz cans Pineapple Chunks, drained
2- 15 oz cans Mandarin Segments, drained
1/2 cup Maraschino Cherries, drained
3- 8oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
10 Tbsp milk
3 large handfuls (about 3 cups) mini-marshmallows
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat heavy whipping cream into soft peeks. Remove into a small bowl and set aside.
2. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle and beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. On low speed beat in the powdered sugar until combined. Slowly add in the milk and mix.
3. Remove from mixer and by hand fold in the reserved whipped cream.
4. Fold in all of the drained fruit and mini-marshmallows. Chill at least 1 hour covered before serving or overnight if possible.
Note: I like to reserve a few mandarins, cherries and pineapples to garnish the top of my serving dish for a prettier presentation!
Last October I embarked on a new venture that was 100% out of my comfort zone, I taught a class on blogging! Let me tell you, it’s one thing to sit behind a computer talking about this stuff and an entirely different thing to stand up in front of a classroom filled with your peers and speak with any sort of conviction. To my great relief the class was a huge success, I had so much more to share than I could have possibly imagined, and the attendees created a little community of ladies that I have grown to know and love. Today I am excited to announce that I will be hosting a second installment of Freutcamp this Summer at Darling Magazine’s Headquarters in Los Angeles, California. I hope you will be part of it!
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!
SCHEDULE: We are all too busy for our own good, am I right? That’s why I have been working to reduce the class down to just the best parts, leaving you more time for what really matters, your blogs! Summer Freutcamp will kick off with a Friday night mixer on June 20th followed by a FULL day workshop on Saturday, June 21st. No Photoshop skills taught this time around, just all the other important business, branding and social media you could possibly need for running a better blog. (more info here)
TICKETS: 25 seats will be available and tickets go on sale Wednesday, April 16th at 8:00am PST. Because Wednesday is tax day, oy vey, I’m setting aside a limited number of tickets (10) for $199 with the discount code TAXRELIEF from April 16th-20th. Regular priced tickets will be $299. Tickets are available at www.freutcamp.com
BONUS: I promise to make Freutcamp a fun, informative, inspirational, and exciting event for all who attend! I have lots of surprises planned and guest speakers TBA. I hope you will consider purchasing a ticket and joining the camp. If you have any questions please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are planning to go Easter egg-hunting with little ones this year, these DIY Glittered Easter Pails will be the perfect project for you! When I saw these adorable pastel pails at Target, in the bargain section for only $3 each none the less, I knew they would be a fun alternative to the typical Easter basket. Plus, everything is better with a little gold glitter on it, don’t you agree?
To make these Glittered Easter Pails, you will need:
Metal Pails in fun colors
Tacky glue- we recommend Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
Chunky gold glitter
Foam paint brush
Ribbon – this gold glittered ribbon is available at Michael’s
Let’s get started:
1. Using your painter’s tape, tape off the section of your pail which you wish to cover in glitter. (Tip: to keep the line straight, tape of the section with small pieces of tape).
2. Using your foam brush, “paint” on a generous coat of tacky glue.
3. Before your glue dries, sprinkle a heavy amount of glitter all over the glue.
4. Carefully remove your tape, revealing your nice clean lines!
5. Finish off with a pretty bow at the base of the handle.
Photos by Marisa Mangum & Leah Bergman
Yesterday was 93 degrees in Los Angeles, you read that correctly, nine-zero degrees in April after a non-existent winter and with complete disregard for spring. Therefore I threw in the towel and made Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream. Sweet cream and milk steeped with floral Earl Grey Tea, combined with sugar and yolks, chilled and churned.
Served in a waffle cone, there is nothing complicated or overworked about this recipe. It’s just really good, rich and chewy ice cream made from scratch and completely satisfying on a hot (spring) day.
But for those of you who are not suffering through this California heat wave, don’t be deterred! Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream is the perfect year round flavor with lovely reminders of a hot cup of tea with lots of cream and sugar. If you are in California, I suggest digging that ice cream machine out immediately. Summer has arrived!
photos by Leah Bergman / floral napkin by Cute Bright Things
Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream- Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp loose-leaf Earl Grey tea
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
1. In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, half of the sugar (1/4 cup), the tea, and salt.
2. Put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture just begins to bubble around the edges, remove from the heat and cover the pan. Let steep for about 10 minutes, or until the cream has taken on the distinct flavor of Earl Grey tea.
3. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in the remaining half of the sugar (1/4 cup). Uncover the cream mixture and put the pan over medium heat. 4. Carefully scoop out about 1/2 up of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Repeat, adding another 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks. Using a heatproof spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowlypour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
5. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your fingers across the spatula, about 3 minutes longer.
6. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container into an ice-water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Remove the container from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight.
7. Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, put the container you’ll use to store the ice cream into the freezer. Enjoy right away or, for a firmer ice cream, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Everyone’s so keen to host cookie decorating parties when the holidays roll around but what about a swanky, springtime fete to prep for Easter? My plan: Have the girls over for an egg decorating day with lots of champagne and bite-size sweets, like colorful bowls of jelly beans and these Miniature Carrot Pudding Pies!
This modern twist on a classic Easter dessert gets tons of flavor and creaminess from my favorite secret ingredient: Melted ice cream! To make a pudding you usually need milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs. Guess what? Already in the ice cream! That’s how I kept this super-chic treat to its 5-ingredient cap. Just steep freshly grated carrots in melted ice cream, strain, and reheat with cornstarch, salt and butter…easiest pudding recipe ever!
To make the tart shells, I pressed store-bought pie dough into ungreased muffin tins and baked, lined with parchment and pie weights, until perfectly golden. You can make the shells up to 2 days ahead. Just store ‘em in an airtight container at room temperature. Willing to splurge on an extra ingredient? These are even more delicious topped with whipped cream!
Miniature Carrot Pudding Pies
2 (14-ounce) containers good-quality vanilla ice cream
1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
1 (14-ounce) box refrigerated pie dough rolls (2 rolls)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
PANTRY STAPLE: Kosher salt
TOPPING IDEA: Sweetened, whipped cream
1. Heat the ice cream in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in the carrots and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, unroll the pie dough rolls and cut into 3-inch circles; collect and reroll scraps, cut out into more circles. Gently press dough circles into an ungreased 12-cup muffin pan; line each with parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden. Let cool in the pan slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove parchment and pie weights.
3. Pour the ice cream mixture into a clean saucepan through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on the carrot solids with a spatula to release all of the liquid; transfer 3 tablespoons liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Gradually whisk cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining liquid and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until pudding coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the butter until melted.
4. Divide the pudding among the prepared tart shells. Transfer to a serving platter, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming), and refrigerate at least 3 hours or until cold and firm. Top with whipped cream, if desired!
Want to see exactly how we made these teeny treats? Here’s a quick how-to video—ice cream blooper, included!
Lately I have been incorporating more and more Kelly Green and Lemon Yellow into my living and dining room decor. In our small apartment, one small color change can make a huge difference! Recently I transformed an old and tired white side table by sanding and painting it a vibrant lemon yellow with little white nobs. This change added immediate sunshine to our space and brought the room into spring. Here are a few spring living room updates I am loving this season.
Hooray, it’s Friday! The weather may be a bit chilly for my liking but this Dragonfruit Margarita is tropical enough to warm things right up. I’m sharing my recipe for this refreshing and slightly floral cocktail today on Style Me Pretty Living as well as my thoughts on spring versus summer margaritas.
Now back to that wild looking fruit! Unlike it’s vibrant skin, dragonfruit is nothing but delicate in flavor. Mixed with, silver tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice and just a drop of rosewater, dragonfruit makes one lovely margarita. Have you ever tried dragonfruit? How do you like to prepare it?
For more about picking a ripe dragonfruit, visit my cocktail post on SMP Living.
photos by Leah Bergman / original post on Style Me Pretty Living
2oz Silver Tequila
¼ Dragon Fruit, skin removed and cubed
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz-1oz agave nectar (more or less to sweeten)
2 drops rose water
sea salt for the rim- optional
1. Rim a margarita glass or tumbler with lime juice and sea salt. (optional)
2. In a cocktail shaker add dragon fruit cubes, lime juice, and agave nectar. Muddle into a pulp.
3. Fill shaker with ice and add in tequila and rose water. Shake vigorously until ice is broken down and margarita is well chilled. (Alternately you can blend the entire drink if you prefer a blended margarita.)
4. Pour contents into prepared glass and garnish with a slice of dragon fruit. Enjoy.
Note: Sadly that pretty pink dragonfruit skin is not edible so make sure to remove it before eating.
Happy Friday friends! Today I’m excited to be guest posting on Better Homes and Garden’s blog Style Spotters sharing an easy entertaining craft. Gilded Sea Shell Candle Holders are the perfect way to illuminate your spring tablescape and are simple enough to make for this weekend’s entertaining. You can find the entire tutorial here, but first a small preview…
photo by Leah Bergman / DIY on BHG Style Spotters
Happy first day of April! The start of a new month feels like the perfect time to announce a brand new Freutcake contributor and blog column, Freutcake Book Club. Meet Amy Dempsey a lovely lady whom I am fortunate enough to call my friend. Now I’m excited to announce that inspired by Amy and my mutual love for reading, we are starting a monthly book club for Freutcake readers! Whether you have a current book club or have wanted to start one, now’s your chance. Each month we will announce a new book for you and your friends to read hand chosen by Amy. You can also expect recipes, crafts, party ideas and discussion tips as well as a running conversation about each month’s book right here on the blog. So grab your girlfriends, pick up this month’s book, start a gathering, and give a warm welcome to Amy!- Leah
Yes, it’s true… I fully admit it. My name is Amy and I am a book-aholic. I’m also pretty addicted to Freutcake, so you can imagine my excitement when Leah asked me to help her launch Freutcake Book Club and take on the role of contributor. Last year, my insatiable wanderlust took me to Iceland where I learned of a proverb the natives live by: “Better to go barefoot than bookless.” In hopes that you will never find yourself without a worthy book to indulge in, I will be suggesting one at the beginning of each month for every Freutcake reader that is interested in partaking. With that said, it is my pleasure to announce the selection for this month – The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro.
Intriguing characters, charming settings, and poetic descriptions are sprinkled throughout the pages of this compelling novel. Good Housekeeping named The Perfume Collector Best Book of the Year and it’s not hard to see why! Bouncing back and forth between London, Paris, New York, and Monte Carlo during the 1920s and mid-1950s, this story will draw you in and deeply engage your senses. You’ll feel as if you are the one sipping citron pressé in Parisian sidewalk cafes, bumping heads with starlets from Hollywood’s early Golden Age, and being mystified by the art of perfume making and the power of a woman’s signature scent.
I won’t give away too much, but I do anticipate you fully enjoying this novel. Join Freutcake this month as we read The Perfume Collector, and stay tuned for tips on throwing your own perfume themed Book Club meeting!
Photos by Leah Bergman / Calligraphy by Laura Hooper Calligraphy
April Freutcake Book Club Selection:
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Available for purchase on Amazon
Questions about book club? Email us!