For years I was opposed to the flavor of lavender in food. To my senses the taste of lavender evoked the smell of bath oils and scented candles…relaxing but not appetizing. I’m not sure when it all changed but in recent years I absolutely love the flavor of floral lavender in sweets. Honey lavender ice cream from Carmela’s, Lavender Scones from Little Flower or Chocolate Lavender Truffles. Chocolate and lavender being one of the best combinations of course! If you haven’t tried it, you really must. Are you a fan of food seasoned with lavender?
Ann Shen for Freutcakeillustration by
Lavender Truffles- adapted slightly from All Recipes.com
12 fresh lavender flower heads (3 Tbs dried lavender)
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Place the flower heads and cream into a small sauce pan. Cook over a low flame about 10 minutes stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside to continue steeping until the cream is strongly flavored with lavender.
2. Combine the bittersweet chocolate with the semisweet chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl. Divide the chocolate into equal portions, and set one portion aside. Cook the remaining chocolate in the microwave on High in 20 to 30 second increments until melted, stirring between each heating. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the cream into the melted chocolate; discard the flower heads and bits of lavender. Stir the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until somewhat firm, but not hard, about 1 hour.
3. After the lavender chocolate mixture has chilled, place the remaining chocolate and butter into a microwave safe glass bowl. Cook in the microwave on High in 20 to 30 second increments until just melted, stirring between each heating; set aside.
4. Line a baking sheet with a piece of waxed paper. Roll the lavender mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, and dip into the melted chocolate mixture using a skewer or toothpick. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours to harden.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
Yesterday we had the kind of weather that makes you wish spring were here already. It felt like the perfect day to barbeque dinner and enjoy a light appetizer like this recipe for my favorite Garlic White Bean dip with homemade oregano pita chips.
This Garlic White Bean dip is flavorful and creamy without being even slightly heavy. Just cannellini beans, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and a good handful of Italian parsley make this dip super fresh!
Dressed up with a few scattered pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil, this dip is pretty enough to serve with cocktails to guests and easy enough to have every day. Doesn’t she look good in her close-up? I have to admit, my mouth is watering looking at my own photos right now.
Don’t forget the chips! If I promise you that these homemade pita chips are easy and taste way better than the store bought kind will you promise to make them? Sea salt and oregano makes these crispy chips the perfect compliment to the light white bean dip. Who’s ready for snacking?
photos by Freutcake
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl.
3. Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color.
4. Serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside the white bean dip.
If I had to choose the highlight of my recent trip to Las Vegas it would hands down be the morning we ate brunch at Bouchon.
There is nothing quite as lovely as starting out the morning (or afternoon in our case) with a “basket” full of freshly baked French pastries, a strong cup of coffee, and a perfectly cooked egg.
Bouchon serves the best version of a classic Pain aux Raisin I have ever tasted. Slightly chewy, crisp in all the right places, and gone way too quickly, this is a recipe I will definitely try my best to replicate. Yes, it’s that inspiring.
While others might rave about the buttery brioche toast, or potato fritters; I was in love with the eggs. There is something so right about a perfectly poached egg, generously seasoned with sea salt, topped with French butter and herbs. I will dream about those remarkable oeufs for months!
If ever there was a restaurant that transports you to another place and time, I think it might just be Bouchon. One day when I have the pleasure of visiting Paris, I hope it’s just like this brunch at Bouchon, eggs and all!
photos by Leah Bergman
I’ve never been one to shy away from brights so naturally I’m loving all of this neon citron for spring! It’s a little bit yellow, a little bit green, a touch of highlighter and all kinds of fabulous. Plus, it gives a girl (the illusion of) a good tan. Believe me, my winter white skin could use it.
When Gap asked me to try out their new 1969 Skimmer jeans and style them five ways (see my styles here) I had no idea that these pants would turn out to be my new favorite jean. Since last weeks post I’ve unintentionally styled a dozen other looks with these skimmers simply because I wear them so often. Like I said, I LIVE in my jeans!
Now onto the good stuff…
Because I love them so much, I’ve decided that all of you should own a pair of my new favorite jeans as well. Now through February 27th all Gap Skimmer jeans are $20 off* in stores which makes it easy and affordable to get yourself a pair.
To sweeten the deal I am giving one reader a $50 American Express gift card to go shopping with! All you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog telling me how you will style your new Gap Skimmers.
For an additional chance to win:
Post your favorite photo from my Gap shoot on your Instagram with the caption:
“Loving how @freutcake styled her new #gap Skimmer! #denimevolved”
Entries must be posted by this Wednesday, February 27th by 8 am PST. One winner will be chosen at random and announced same day.
* Certain Restrictions Apply. Regular Price Styles only. For a Limited Time only.
Post Sponsored by Gap. All opinions about the clothing are my own. The New 1969 Women’s Skimmers are the fit of the season now at $59.95.
COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER BRITTANY JEWEL FELLENBAUM!
Every since I sat sipping that St. Germain margarita poolside last weekend in Palm Springs, I have had margarita’s on the mind. It may not be margarita weather outside but I am inclined to make a pitcher, crank the heater and enjoy one of these Pomegranate Margaritas all the same! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?
2 ounces Grand Marnier
1 1/2 ounces Tequila
2 ounces pomegranate juice
2 ounce lime juice
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
coarse salt for the rim
lime + pomegranate seeds for garnish
For simple syrup: combine equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil and let sugar dissolve, then turn off heat and let cool completely.
Rim the ridge of your glass with a lime wedge and dip in margarita salt. Fill the glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, grand marnier, pom juice, simple syrup and lime juice with ice, and shake for about 30 seconds. Pour over ice and squeeze in extra lime slices. Add some pomegranate seeds for decoration.
If you have a cocktail you would like to see featured on Freutcake please email me! I would love to try it.- Leah
If the saying “work hard, play hard” weren’t so cliché and slightly rap video-esque then I might have re-thought the title of this post. Between trips to visit friends in Palm Springs followed by a turn around drive to Las Vegas for the Magic trade show, I have been one busy traveling lady!
I used to get really down on myself if I happened to miss one day of blog posting. Now I know the importance of quality versus quantity and the concept of making time for life, love, work and blogging all in their proper places. It seems that the more I live life to the fullest the better my work becomes. I like to think of travel like a living brainstorm session, even better when enjoyed poolside with a St. Germain margarita in hand.
It’s easy for me to come back from my work or play trips with complete sensory overload. I’m left with hundreds of photos to sort through, food and adventures to be shared and lots of work to be done. It can be hard to know where to begin.
But with the end of every great trip comes a fresh new excitement to dive right in. Work just a little harder, put that inspiration to work and make something great out of it!
And of course, dream up my next real life traveling brainstorm session.
photos by Leah Bergman // camera & iphone
Is there anything better than finding a local bakery that serves (arguably the best) freshly baked, light and fluffy cinnamon rolls topped with a heaping portion of cream cheese frosting? I think not. I am seriously in love with this sweet treat and it happens to be scary close to my house at Bittersweet Treats Bakery.
One of these rolls ordered along side a caramel latte, which by the way is made with Bittersweet’s homemade caramel sauce, has me grinning from ear to ear.
Lucky for Pasadena this bakery has dozens of equally as delicious baked goods. Beautiful bundt cakes, bars and cookies, like their ‘Barreo’ which is essential a giant homemade Oreo cookie, are all worth sampling.
With a selection like Bittersweet’s it’s hard to choose! I’m sure I’ll be back soon to try the rest of their confections…for blog research of course.
Yes, Bittersweet Treats is a dangerously delicious Pasadena spot. I highly recommend you stop in! You might just see me, and my cinnamon roll, having a quiet moment in the corner.
Bittersweet Treats Los Angeles
1731 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena CA 91106
Photos by Joanne Pio for Freutcake
Happy Friday friends! This week has been so jam packed with fun and exciting things to share I hardly know where to begin. Since my Instagram feed seems to sum up my week nicely, I’ll let the photos do the talking….
This week I’ve: Mixed things up on air with Good Housekeeping Magazine / Sipped on a Sloe Gin Fizz / Shared Valentine’s Day Lobster Rolls at Son of a Gun / Ate way too many baked goods at a yummy new bakery in Pasadena / Enjoyed this almost summer like weather / Styled for Gap
I hope you have an inspired and fun filled weekend! Feel free to follow me on Instagram for more of my adventures.
How are you spending your Valentine’s Day? I hope you are spending it with the one’s you love most mixing up a sweet treat, cocktail or just enjoying their company. For me that person is my best friend, better half, creative inspiration and constant motivator, my husband Jason. May your day be filled with love!