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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

2014 September 8

I’ve always found it strange that coffee cake doesn’t in fact contain coffee. When I was a little girl I naturally assumed I would care for the stuff, considering it’s name. Talk about judging a book, or cake, by it’s cover! Of course as an adult I will devour a piece of this Sour Cream Coffee Cake with a nice strong cup of coffee on the side any day of the week.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This recipe for Sour Cream Coffee cake is an old family classic straight from my Grandma “Shapop” as I call her, but with a bit of a twist of my own. It’s a classic coffee cake with a rich, buttery flavor imparted by the sour cream and filled with a cinnamon and pecan swirl center.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 3 Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I finish my coffee cake with a sweet cinnamon glaze because everything, in my opinion, is better with a bit of frosting! Of course you could also substitute a vanilla glaze or even a fresh orange glaze with a bit more fresh zest on top. I happen to think that the cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla combination is reminisent of a gooey morning cinnamon roll, so I think I’ll keep it.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 1 Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Once the glaze has dripped down the sides of your cake, it’s ready to transfer to a serving plate, slice and enjoy. This sour cream coffee cake is perfect served on it’s own or as the center of a brunch table! This is also a great make ahead dish when guests come to visit. Make the coffee cake the night before, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow to cool overnight. (This is the trick for moist cake every time.) In the morning all you’ll need is a few minutes to whip up the glaze and start the coffee pot. It doesn’t get much easier, or more delicious than that. Do you have a favorite family coffee cake recipe? I hope you will give my Grandma Shapop’s a try!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 2 Sour Cream Coffee Cake

photos by Leah Bergman

Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe card Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe card Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Serves 12
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  6. 3 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 tsp baking soda
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 1 1/4 cup sour cream (full fat)
Swirl Center
  1. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  2. 2 tsp cinnamon
  3. 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. 1 cup confectioners sugar
  2. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1-2 Tbsp milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10" tube pan or bundt pan, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Scrap down sides of the bowl and beat in eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour (sifted before measuring), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture on slow speed until just combined. (Do not overmix)
  6. Add in the sour cream and beat just until combined.
Swirl Center
  1. In a small bowl mix together sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans. Set aside.
  1. Spoon half of the batter into the bottom of greased pan. Top with all of the cinnamon-pecan swirl mixture and finally top with the remainder of the batter, smoothing the top with a spoon or spatula.
  2. Bake 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Start checking at 40 minutes. Allow to cool partially before inverting out of the pan to a cooling rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight before glazing and serving. This will insure a moist cake.
  1. In a small bowl mix together confectioners sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 1 Tbsp milk. Mix to combine. You may want to add up to 1 Tbsp more milk if the glaze is too thick to drizzle. It should be the consistency of white glue.
  2. Drizzle glaze over the top of your cooled coffee cake. Slice and serve with coffee!
  1. 1. Make sure to sift flour before measuring to insure a light cake.
  2. 2. Wrapping the cake in plastic overnight will help hold in moisture but if you do not have time for this step feel free to cool completely, glaze, and serve same day.
Adapted from Grandma "Shapop"
Adapted from Grandma "Shapop"

Blackberry Sage Cocktails

2014 September 5

Let me start by saying that I do not own a cocktail muddler…I use a wooden spoon. I guess you could say that I’m old school like that! But seriously, remind me to pick up a muddler the next time I’m at Williams-Sonoma. Ok, I have a case of the Friday’s…moving onto the cocktail!

Blackberry Sage Cocktails Blackberry Sage Cocktails

Yesterday I had lunch with my sweet friend Amy, the leader of our Freutcake Book Club. After weeks of failed attempts to get together we finally found a day that worked for both of our schedules. (However I have to admit, I was the difficult one schedule wise.) We chatted about balance, about scheduling our days, the sort of organizers and planners we prefer, about the pens we carry, and about how girl time really should be a mandatory monthly occurrence. Men reading this post, this also applies to you!

Blackberry Sage Cocktail Muddle Blackberry Sage Cocktails

After lunch we parted ways, hugging and promising to be better about scheduling meet-ups. I promised a girls night of cheese filled appetizers and cocktails very soon and Amy heartily agreed. I will probably make a large pitcher of these Blackberry Sage Cocktails. They just so happen to be the ultimate in delicious foodie-friendly cocktails…my girlfriends will love em’. Happy weekend friends! I hope you schedule in a little bit of fun.

Blackberry Sage Cocktail 1 Blackberry Sage Cocktails

photos by Leah Bergman

Blackberry Sage Cocktail Recipe Card Blackberry Sage Cocktails
Blackberry Sage Cocktail
Blackberry Sage Cocktail Recipe Card Blackberry Sage Cocktails
Serves 6
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Sage Simple Syrup
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 8 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish
  1. 1 pint fresh blackberries, muddled and strained (juices reserved)
  2. Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  3. 8 oz St. Germain Liqueur
  4. 16 oz vodka
  5. seltzer water
  1. Place water and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add sage leaves, and cover, allowing the mixture to steep for about 2 hours. Strain.
  2. Combine fresh blackberry juice, lemon juice, sage simple syrup, St. Germain and vodka in cocktail pitcher. Mix and refrigerate covered until well chilled.
  3. Serve in cocktail glasses filled with ice and garnish with fresh sage leaves and top with a splash of seltzer water.
Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon
Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon


Creamy Greek Garlic Dip

2014 September 4

This easy 5-ingredient recipe is the natural next-level recipe for hummus lovers: Creamy, spreadable and loaded with flavor. It’s a classic Greek treat. I had it for the first time while visiting my family on Ikaria and I’ve been absolutely hooked ever since. It’s thick like a puree but creamy and soft and beautiful—almost like mashed potatoes. They key ingredient: Garlic, and lots of it (if you’re from my camp)!

5 Ingredient Creamy Greek Garlic Dip Creamy Greek Garlic Dip

There’s two different ways to make this garlic dip, or skordalia if you’d like to be official and fancy. The first: Potatoes. Boil ‘em, puree ‘em and they give you the bulk for your dip. The second (and my preference): Stale bread. If you soak it in milk and whizz it up in the food processor with garlic, almonds, vinegar and olive oil—it’s pure heaven. Only problem is, I’m too much of a bug-a-phobe to let bread sit out and get stale in my Brooklyn apartment. I’m much more cavalier in a giant Greek island kitchen, I guess. So I’ll show you how to fake stale bread. You probably know how already, though, right? Just toast it and make it hard. Problem solved.

5 Ingredient Creamy Greek Garlic Dip Ingredients Creamy Greek Garlic Dip

I like to use red wine vinegar in my skordalia. I think it’s a little softer and sweeter than lemon juice. Bonus: You don’t have to squeeze any lemons—that takes time, man! If you’d like to, though, you can make this recipe with lemon juice in place of vinegar. I won’t think any less of you. And by all means, please let me know what you think!

Let’s talk about serving. Ideally I like to eat this garlic dip with lots and lots of warm pita bread. Since I’m trying to be a little healthier than usually, I’m sticking to veggies. A classic dipping device is roasted beets. Sounds weird but it’s a delicious pairing, just a little messy. I say go with pita. If you want to get a little fancy, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika before serving. Everyone loves a little jazz on top of their dip!

5 Ingredient Creamy Greek Garlic Dip 2 Creamy Greek Garlic Dip

photos by Erin Phraner

Oh! One other things I should mention. Like most things in life, people have different opinions when it comes to their garlic dip. Two variables to keep in mind: Garlicky-ness and consistency. If you HATE garlic…well maybe this isn’t the recipe for you. Just kidding! It’s mild and not super garlicky. But if you DO like garlic, I say go for it. Add more! Sometimes I add eight, nine, plus cloves if I’m alone. Same goes for the milk. If you want a looser dip, add more milk. If you want something thick and spreadable, go for less. You can’t really mess that up. Isn’t that nice? If only all recipes were so forgiving. Now get dipping! xox

5 Ingredient Creamy Greek Garlic Dip Recipe Card Creamy Greek Garlic Dip
5-Ingredient Creamy Greek Garlic Dip
5 Ingredient Creamy Greek Garlic Dip Recipe Card Creamy Greek Garlic Dip
Serves 6
Classic Greek "Skordalia" garlic dip.
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Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
  1. 1 loaf Italian bread, torn into large pieces (crust removed)
  2. 2 cups whole milk, plus more for pulsing if needed
  3. 5 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  4. 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  5. 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  6. PANTRY STAPLES: Extra-virgin olive oil and salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Toss the bread pieces, a generous drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted. Transfer bread to a large bowl. Add the milk and toss until combined; let soak.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 3 more minutes.
  3. Transfer the soaked bread to a food processor with a slotted spoon; reserve milk in the bottom of the bowl (you’ll need it to make the dip nice and smooth). To the processor, add the almond-garlic mixture, vinegar, a big pinch of salt and 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil. Pulse until combined, then puree until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Pulse in the reserved milk (or more, if needed) until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt to taste. Serve with veggies and/or pita bread.


DIY Painted Flatware

2014 September 3

Happy Wednesday friends! I have a fun DIY project for you to try this weekend inspired by my obsession with shopping for flatware! Pretty much every time I visit Crate & Barrel I make a beeline for the utensils. I like to pick up random forks, weighing them in my hand for balance, ooh and aah over their shiny perfection, and pick out my favorites patterns. What can I say? I have a thing for tabletop goodies.

Painted Flatware DIY Painted Flatware

But while having multiple sets of flatware is appealing, I think it’s even more fun to fancy up some regular mismatched or everyday flatware with a bit of paint. I found an inexpensive set at my local bargain store and went to town embellishing them with gold, black and white paint to match my collection of dishes. I don’t expect to use them everyday, but for a party, they sure will be fun! You could try painting them in fun bright colors to match any decor. Here’s how I did it:

Painted Flatware supplies DIY Painted Flatware

Inexpensive, vintage, or mismatched flatware
multi-surface paint (good for use on metal surfaces), I used this one
Acrylic Spray Paint Crystal Clear DIY Painted Flatware

Painted Flatware pattern DIY Painted Flatware

Let’s get started:

1. Decide on your “pattern.” I chose to paint all of my salad forks and soup spoons white, my dinner forks and knives gold, and my tea spoons black. I actually love the way the black handles turned out! I might have to make an entire set.
2. Tape off the portion you wish to paint. I painted the entire handle of my flatware ending in a diagonal stripe. Note: Do not paint any portion of your flatware that will be come in contact with food. This paint is for show and not food safe.
3. Paint a thin (this is key) coat of paint up the handle.
4. Allow to dry almost completely before painting a second thin coat. Tip: I placed my flatware into votive holders filled with rice for easy drying.
5. While paint is almost dry but still a bit tacky, carefully remove tape. If you painted two thin coats the tape should pull of relatively easily. If it is sticking you may have to cut along the paint/tape line to prevent paint from peeling.

Painted Flatware How To DIY Painted Flatware

6. Once flatware is completely dry, cover all but the handle with plastic and spray on a light but even coat of clear acrylic coating.
7. Allow to dry completely (overnight) before storing or using.
8. Wash gently with warm soapy water and a soft sponge before using. Do not use in the dishwasher as the painted handle is delicate.

Painted Silverware Final DIY Painted Flatware

photos by Leah Bergman

While these are not sturdy enough for everyday wash and wear, painted flatware is perfect for setting a fun party tabletop or for special occasions. I could see these working perfectly for a bridal shower or engagement party, couldn’t you? I think a wine and cheese night with the ladies is in order if for no other reason than to break out my fancy-shmancy utensils.  So, have you ever painted old or inexpensive flatware?

Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies

2014 September 2

Middle school is quite possibly the most awkward time in any young girl’s life, mine included. Home was like my oasis during those years; a place where I could escape to my room, the garden, or a book, not worrying about being cool, just being a girl.

Peach and Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies

For a couple of years in Middle School, we lived in a small bungalow in Pasadena with a mini orchard in the back yard and just about every vegetable known to man growing in the garden. (At least it felt that grand at the time) I’ll never forget the summer when our peach tree (or trees, I can’t remember which) was in full fruiting glory.

Peach and Nectarine Pie 1 Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies

Armfuls of fresh ripe, super juicy peaches were falling so quickly my Mom resorted to freezing them by the bag full, canning until our cabinets were overflowing with jars of preserves, and cooking the rest into just about every recipe she could come up with. And yet they still managed to rot in the grass only to be thrown into the compost pile.

Peach and Nectarine Pies Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies

Years later it’s still difficult for me to taste a peach pie and not think of that summer—a peach flavored summer. Now I wait all season long for the peaches and nectarines to become ripe and flood my local grocery with their sweetness. It’s about this time of year, the last weeks of summer, that I like to baked them into a pies. Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies made easy with refrigerator pie crust and baked into muffin tins.

Nectarine and Peach Pie 2 Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies

Right now I’m watching them bubble away in my oven as I write this post. The smell of butter, cinnamon, and peach enveloping me like a warm summery hug. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into one, the memories of my peach filled summer returning. Maybe I’ll rename them childhood-oasis pies, that feels more fitting.


Peach and Nectarine Pies 3 Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies

photos by Leah Bergman

Peach and Nectarine Pies recipe card Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies
Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies
Peach and Nectarine Pies recipe card Mini Peach & Nectarine Brown Sugar Pies
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
  1. 2 Peaches, ripe but firm
  2. 1 Nectarine, ripe but firm
  3. 1 tsp lemon zest
  4. 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  5. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for the board
  8. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  9. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 2 Tbsp butter
  11. 1 package (2 rolls) prepared pie dough
  12. 1 egg, for brushing
  13. sugar, for topping
Prep the Crust
  1. Butter a standard (12 cup) muffin tin and set aside.
  2. On a floured surface, unroll pie dough and cut out 12-4" rounds and 12-2" hearts using cookie cutters. Press 4" rounds into buttered muffin tin and place hearts on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
Make the Filling
  1. Peel and finely dice peaches and nectarine.
  2. Combine in a large bowl with lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, flour, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Toss until fruit is well coated.
  3. Spoon 2 level Tablespoons of pie filling into each cup. Top each cup with a small pat of butter (about 1/8 tsp) and a heart cutout.
  4. Make a egg wash by whisking together 1 egg and 1 tsp of water. Brush wash over the top of each heart and sprinkle with sugar.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
  6. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes. If they bubbled over a bit, use a sharp knife to cut around the edges while still warm. Remove to cooling rack and cool completely.
  7. Serve at room temperature.
  1. *Instead of using a heart, you could always use a second 3" round topper for a traditional covered pie. If you decide to cover the pies completely, make sure to crimp the sides and vent the top with a hole or two before baking.
Adapted from Pie Pops by Carol Hilker
Adapted from Pie Pops by Carol Hilker

Spiced Chai Piña Colada

2014 August 29

We’re holding on to summer at my house for as long as possible, but I can’t help but notice that the chill in the morning air is taking longer to wear off.

Because August is far too early for hot chai, or even hot chocolate, I’ve found a new way to transport myself to a happy place where the prospects of snow and ice don’t exist. A drink with both summery, tropical flavors and a warming blend of spices can provide a lot of comfort (and denial); enter the Spiced Chai Piña Colada.

spiced chai pina colada Spiced Chai Piña Colada

Like a snug chai tea, this drink features the gratifying combined flavors of cinnamon, clove, pepper, ginger, and a little hint of liquorice. The amber rum has a caramel-molasses profile that works well with the warm spices, and coconut milk gives the drink a soothing silkiness. But it’s also an ice blended drink, with bright tropical pineapple and coconut flavors that contrast nicely with the rich spices and keep everyone grounded in summertime fun.

spiced chai pina colada spices Spiced Chai Piña Colada

Infusing a simple syrup is the easiest way to get these comforting spices into your drink. You’ll have two options: first, if you have all the available spices on hand, you can just steep whole spices in your syrup for a rich and heady infusion. But, if you’re short on ingredients in the pantry, or just big on simplicity and convenience, you can easily substitute chai tea bags (I won’t tell anyone if you don’t).

To keep the drink from getting too rich and caloric for a summer day, the coconut cream usually found in a Piña Colada has been replaced with lite coconut milk. It doesn’t effect the taste or consistency, and it means you can have two.

So have two! Happy Cocktailing!

spiced chai pina colada overhead Spiced Chai Piña Colada

photos by Elana Lepkowski



spiced chai pina colada glasses square Spiced Chai Piña Colada
Spiced Chai Piña Colada
spiced chai pina colada glasses square Spiced Chai Piña Colada
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Chai Syrup
  1. 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  2. 1 heaping tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
  3. 4 cloves, whole
  4. 1 star anise
  5. 4 2” cinnamon sticks
  6. 6-8 green cardamom pods
  7. 1/2 cup sugar
  8. 1/2 cup water
  1. 2-1/2 ounces gold rum (use a gold or amber rum for a richer taste vs white)
  2. 2-1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  3. 1-1/2 ounces lite coconut milk
  4. 1-1/4 ounces chai syrup (see recipe below)
  5. 1 cup ice
  6. cinnamon stick for garnish
Make the syrup
  1. Bring sugar and water to just under a boil. Add spices. Stir to combine.
  2. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove from flame and let sit, covered for an hour.
  3. Strain mixture into an airtight container. Will keep, refrigerated, for up to a month.
Make the Cocktail
  1. In a blender, combine rum, pineapple juice, coconut milk, chai syrup and ice. Blend and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
  1. Note: To make a chai infusion with tea bags. Boil a cup of water and steep two bags for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags and stir in one cup of sugar until fully dissolved. Also, for a thicker cocktail, gradually add more ice, 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub

2014 August 28

I make homemade body scrubs for myself all the time, but receiving one as a gift is a treat! Recently, I was given a jar of Geranium body scrub made with pink Himalayan sea salt and coconut oil from my friend Holly.

Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub 4 Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub

That same night I jumped in the shower and uncapped my pretty pink gift. The smell of sweet, floral geranium filled my steamy bathroom. The scent was faintly reminiscent of rose with a bit of lychee and something entirely more earthy. I couldn’t get enough of the soft pink, super moisturizing, scrub. The day I scraped the last bits of scrub from the bottom of the jar, I called Holly for the recipe.

Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub

After doing some research, I found it interesting that my nightly geranium scrub was beneficial in promoting emotional stability, alleviating pain, enhancing mood, and reducing inflammation. As Holly says, it’s a very grounding scent. Geranium essential oil is also said to help with depression, anxiety and insomnia. No wonder this scrub quickly became my favorite night time ritual! Going to bed with the faint scent of geranium still lingering on my skin and the soft moisture of organic coconut oil is just about as relaxing as it gets. I hope you will give it a try!

Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub 1 Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub

photos by Leah Bergman


Geranium Body Scrub- recipe by Holly Cory

1 cup Pink Himalayan Salt (Extra-Fine Grain) Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub
1/2 cup Organic Coconut Oil  Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub
10-20 drops Geranium Essential Oil Geranium Pink Sea Salt Body Scrub
small jar for storage


1. In a bowl combine sea salt and coconut oil, mix to combine.
2. Add in 10-20 drops Geranium Essential Oil, stir to incorporate.
3. Spoon into a small jar with a tight fitting lid.

*Use in a warm shower or bath, breath deeply, relax and enjoy! Your skin will feel moisturized and renewed with a lovely lingering geranium scent. Thank you Holly for the recipe!


Being “The Hostess” + a Giveaway

2014 August 26

This past weekend I had the honor of representing Darling Magazine’s “Hostess” persona at their Create + Cultivate conference. I lead a room full of 90 talented, beautiful, and inspiring women in a round of crafting Painted Rope Votive Holders to inspire a simple hostess gift idea, or dinner party accent. As I prepared for speaking to this group and sharing my craft with them, I thought about what it means to be a “Hostess.” Immediately my thoughts went to figures like Martha Stewart and June Cleaver. Historically a hostess is synonymous with a perfectly tidy kitchen, ruffled apron, steaming pot roast, and wobbly jello mold, not to mention a spacious dining room to entertain in! Quite the opposite of my small one bedroom apartment, dishwasher-less kitchen, and round 4-seater dining table, I should add.

The Hostess Esselle Giveaway Being The Hostess + a Giveaway

For starters I had mixed feelings about considering myself a hostess. What I’ve found is that while I love the art of entertaining, cooking a meal, mixing drinks, and generally socializing with friends and family; often times I feel the pressure to achieve perfection only to fall short on many occasions! You have no idea the frenzy of dish washing, toilet bowl scrubbing, and hurried candle lighting that ensues before my guests knock on the door. (Tell me I’m not alone in this!) I’m usually frustrated and sometimes a bit embarrassed at how little space I have to entertain guests, not to mention my general lack of seating. There is no, “Let’s retire to the library for cocktails” in this house.

Esselle Giveaway Table Being The Hostess + a Giveaway

So, as I considered all of these facts, and tried my best to work them into a meaningful presentation to accompany my candle project, I realized one very important thing. Despite all of my preconceived notions and feelings of inadequacy when it comes to the proper entertaining home, I still considered myself a hostess. The good intention behind the act of opening up one’s home, big or small, creating a welcoming atmosphere, and a sense of comfort is all that is really required. I think too often we get caught up in the idea of perfection, of keeping up with the Jones’, and forget about what qualities and talents we can personally share with others. So on that note I led the conference in a round of candle holder making.

Esselle Giveaway Being The Hostess + a Giveaway

photos via Esselle

It’s always been my intention with this blog to share inspiration, delicious recipes, easy entertaining ideas, and DIY projects made for the modern-day hostess. I hope that I can inspire you to consider yourself a hostess in your own right, to open your home to the ones you love, and to never be intimidated or held to a level of perfection that is simply not realistic. Mostly, I hope you take away a desire to entertain, to host, and to share your talents and hospitality with others.

On that note, Esselle is giving away a $50 gift card to use towards one of their Hostess boxes to a Freutcake reader. Esselle creates dinner party decor and tablescape essentials for the modern hostess…how perfect! So, please leave a comment here about your thoughts on what makes a “Hostess.” I would love to hear from you, and you might just win a gift card too.

Here’s How to Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: Comments must be entered by 12:00 am PST, August 29th in order to qualify.

Setting a Mismatched Table

2014 August 22

For years (before getting married) I believed that the only way to set a table was with matching sets of dishes or china. Of course, when we got engaged, I registered for a lovely set of everyday china that carried a simple but elegant black, white and silver pattern throughout the salad, dinner and dessert plates. I still love my china but have found it can be a bit boring to set an entire table with the same pieces. As my collection of vintage china and dishes has grown (that’s a whole different post) I now love to set a mismatched table working in pink depression glass salad plates, little gold rimmed bread plates, equestrian themed dessert dishes and the list goes on.

Mismatched Table Setting Setting a Mismatched Table

While my collection of tabletop is far from being complete, let’s face it a collector never stops collecting, I do have some tips for setting a mismatched table with what you have!

Tip #1: Set the Foundation

While I love combing the thrift stores for beautiful lone plates and saucers, I also think it’s important to have a foundational set of china or dinnerware. That set could be as simple as a beautiful set of white dinnerware (which is so versatile!) or as decorative as classic blue and white china. Either way, It’s nice to start with a full set to work with.

Setting a mismatched table Setting a Mismatched Table1/ (New) Gold Chargers 2/ (New) gold rimmed dinnerware 3/ (Vintage) Blue & White China 4/ (Vintage) pink and gold plates 5/ (Vintage) white and gold dessert plates 6/ (Vintage) Midcentury gold rim fruit plates


Tip #2: Mix Vintage & New

I love the art of the mix! Vintage china atop a brand new gold charger and finished of with modern flatware. Don’t be afraid of mixing vintage and new when it comes to table settings. It brings character and whimsey.

Setting a mismatched table 1 Setting a Mismatched Table

Tip #3: Use What you Have

There is nothing worse than the feeling of breaking a piece of china, am I right? (especially if it’s an heirloom or an pattern that is no longer available) I decided a couple of years ago that I was going to overcome my fears and put my china to use. There is no point in having it if you don’t enjoy using it! Mixing china patterns, vintage and new pieces takes the stress off of having a complete and pristine set.

Tip #4: Pick a Color

One way to unite a mismatched table setting is to pick a color scheme and run with it! For example, pair mismatched plates with a yellow and white theme to them.

Setting mismatch tabletop mix color Setting a Mismatched Table

Tip #5: Pick a Pattern

Another way to unite a mismatched table setting is to pick a pattern element that your dinnerware may have in common. For example, a vintage floral pattern can work well! Many different but similar florals (especially vintage roses) can come together nicely.

Setting mismatch tabletop mix patern Setting a Mismatched Table

Tip #6: Layer Patterns

Don’t be afraid to layer different patterns and colors! Just like with clothing, different patterns can play nicely together to create a lovely layered effect. Try mixing a small print with a larger pattern or band of color.

Setting mismatch tabletop mix flatware Setting a Mismatched Table

Tip #7: Try Vintage Flatware

If you chose to have a primarily modern table scape, mix things up by adding in mismatched vintage flatware! If you don’t have time to collect these pieces yourself, this is a great resource.

Mismatched table setting Setting a Mismatched Tablephoto by Bryce Covey via Style Me Pretty

So, do you like the mismatched table look or do you prefer all matching sets? What are your favorite places to find tabletop treasures?

5-Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding

2014 August 19

Just when you thought dessert couldn’t get any better, we’re hitting you with a delicious, rich, luscious treat that even those of you who are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free can eat! I mean, it’s kind of magical.

Coconut Rice Pudding 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding

Let’s get into it! There are two things about this sweet coconut rice pudding that make it extra special. First, frozen cooked white rice. Have you used this stuff yet!? It’s A-MAZING. I prefer Whole Foods 365 brand frozen cooked rice. Its seriously changed my rice-eating life—perfectly cooked grains of rice are flash frozen and bagged for your convenience, I mean come on! If you can’t find it, no worries, homemade white rice works just as well. Hint: You could also use leftover from your Chinese takeout order.

Coconut Rice Pudding Ingredients 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding

The second thing that makes this dessert so special is the coconut milk. It gives the pudding all of its creaminess and a little hint of exotic sweetness. Look for light coconut milk to slim things down a bit. You don’t really need all of the heaviness of full fat coconut milk here, since the recipe’s so simple and subtle.

How to Open a Coconut 1 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding

If you really want to take this dessert over the top, serve the rice pudding in DIY fresh coconut cups. Here’s what you do: Find yourself some coconuts. I was surprised by how many grocery store had ‘em! Take the tip of a meat thermometer or clean screwdriver and punch out the 3 holes at the top of the coconut (FYI usually only 1 or 2 will yield to puncturing! Don’t worry if you can’t get all three); drain coconut water into a glass—drink that, lady! It’s good stuff.

How to Open a Coconut 2 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding

Next, one coconut at a time, hold coconut with a kitchen towel in your hand. Use the dull side of a heavy chefs knife to firmly whack all the way around the coconut’s diameter at its widest part (think, like, it’s equator). Keep going around and around until the hard outer shell begins to give way. This might take a few laps, so don’t get frustrated. Open the coconut and separate into two halves. Fill with rice pudding!

If this seems totally crazy and excessive, forget it! Scoop your pudding into pretty glass bowls and call it a day. Either way, you’ll want to eat a whole tub of this fast and fancy treat—let us know what you think.

Coconut Rice Pudding 1 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding

photos by Erin Phraner

Coconut Rice pudding recipe card 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding
Coconut Rice Pudding
Coconut Rice pudding recipe card 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding
Serves 6
Easy gluten and dairy free 5-Ingredient coconut rice pudding.
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  1. 4 cups frozen cooked white rice, thawed
  2. 1 (13.5) ounce can light coconut milk
  3. 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
  4. 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. Optional: Fresh coconuts, for serving
  1. Bring the rice, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla bean and vanilla extract to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, simmering, 15 minutes or until thickened slightly.
  2. Transfer pudding to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Scoop into small glass bowl or serve in fresh coconut cups. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
pixel 5 Ingredient Coconut Rice Pudding