Ricotta Cheesecake with Figs and Honey 

I hope you’re not surprised to see yet another recipe with figs. They are just simply one of my favorite foods and they are only available in a nearly nonexistent timeframe here. I have to get them while I can. This is my go-to cheesecake recipe. I love it because it’s not too sweet and uses great cheeses. I decided to add figs for an obvious reason and a bit of honey.

It’s really quite a process to make, but so worth it. This is the recipe I use. In my fig and caramelized onion pizza post I explained my oven situation. It sucks. So I promise this cheesecake isn’t burned. It’s just very browned. Thanks oven. I adjusted the recipe to my liking by only using a cup of sugar instead of a cup and a half. The i drizzled honey on top and arranged the figs on top.

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Green

Green has been my favorite color of 2017 thus far. Not only do I love what it stands for but it also gives me that same feeling you get at the end of September when everything is at the cusp of change. So you can’t blame me with a look like this that packs a green punch.

Golden Beet and Watercress Salad


I’ve been loving golden beets. It seems like a crazy thing to love but they are slightly more mellow than red beets and that makes them perfect for salads, especially when fried. This is a great salad for yourself at lunch or make a large bowl of it to share.

Ingredients:

  1. Bunch of watercress
  2. 1 radish, sliced thinly
  3. 1 golden beet
  4.  1 Avocado, sliced
  5.  Balsamic vinaigrette

To cook the beets: first slice the beets then, steam the beets in the microwave until tender. Seer the beets in a frying pan coated with olive oil over medium-high heat until golden brown, flip occasionally. Let cool.

Assemble the salad: layer the watercress, beets, radish and avocado onto a plate. Drizzle with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette. Bon appétit!

Parisian Summer Cocktail

There might not be anything in existence that is as good as a chilled cocktail in the dead heat of summer. So here I am, coming through for you with a perfect summer cocktail. To top it off it’s Bastille day, hence the use of St. Germain and Rosé. This one’s fairly easy and extremely refreshing. What you need:

  1. .5 bottle of Rosé
  2. 1 can of tonic water
  3. The juice of one lime plus slices for garnish
  4. 2 shots of St. Germain

It’s as easy as mixing ingredients 1, 3, and 4 together then pouring it into a vintage style glass about 2/3rds full. Top it off with some tonic water and a slice of lime. This recipe makes 2 servings so mix and enjoy!

My Top 3 Cookbooks 

Fun fact: my dream career as a child was to be a chef. I’ve always had an innate love for food, cooking and cookbooks. I grew up in a household where Barefoot Contessa cookbooks were flowing and this had a big impact on me.  I tend to gravitate towards cookbooks with great photos and, lots of them. Being a Francophone comes with its territories; I’m pretty sure there’s a rule book stating that every francophone must love French food or at least just food in general. But I also am deeply tide to my Swedish roots and love everything Scandinavian, including the food. So my top 3 cookbooks incorporate all of these criterium.

My Paris Kitchen by David Leibovitz is such a good book for the current day in age. There are plenty of classic French dishes but he also incorporates a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes which I really appreciate. The photos are beautiful and he talks a lot of having a very ‘basic’ kitchen, essentially a French kitchen. Small, probably no counter space and limited gadgets. But that’s okay because some of the best food comes from French kitchens. This is another quality I really enjoy about this book. I don’t get around to making much of the main dishes in here, because its all meat, but my favorite recipe is the Israeli Couscous. It’s a staple of mine. Sometimes I make it with quinoa for a bit of a healthier option but I love using dates, figs, lemon preserves and cinnamon to make this dish.

Nordic Light by Simon Bajada is just wow. It left me speechless when I first flipped through it. The photos pack a punch in the best way possible and the recipes are classically Scandinavian but with healthy twists. I especially love making the fish recipes in here as an inexperienced cooker of meats and fish. On Mother’s Day I made my mom the buckwheat crepes and salted caramel sauce. They were amazing and the salted caramel sauce is a great solution to an otherwise unhealthy option. It’s nut butter, honey, maple syrup and sea salt. Mix it together and voilà a very healthy salted caramel sauce. I feel that these are the kinds of recipes I will be making for decades to come.

Fika and Hygge by Brontë Aurell is true gold. The photos, the hygge and the delicious recipes are enough for me for the rest of my life. I just want beautiful winter weather, unlimited baking time and a cup of coffee when flipping through this book. The recipes are a lot to take on; most of them have several components that can be time consuming but it is always worth it. I love the rhubarb custard cake the most out of everything I’ve made from this one. The perfect balance of cake and custard and rhubarb will forever be a favorite of mine.

 

Winter Capsule Wardrobe 

My journey with a Capsule Wardrobe started almost a year ago already. Time has really flown by but I have definitely learned a lot about my style, clothing and consumerism over the past year. I have to say that I really do believe that a Capsule Wardrobe is the best way to organize your life and also force you to realize exactly what goes into the clothes you wear. How they are made, where they are made, who made them…etc. My journey for this next year is going to involve supporting ethically sourced, made and produced clothing including eco-friendly made clothing. Consuming less is inherently eco-friendly but I would still like to strive to push my ethical and ecological backbone even further. For now though, here are just some ways I’ve worked with my Winter Capsule Wardrobe.

Using accessories has become critical during the winter months. Most days I wear a chunky sweater and jeans so layering with scarves, jewelry and bags has definitely been a focus of my spending for my Winter Capsule Wardrobe.

My sweater collection was big enough from my Fall Capsule Wardrobe that I didn’t really need to purchase any sweaters. So I bought a new pair of jeans because I wanted to get a pair that would last and be versatile throughout the changing of trends. They still have ripped hems though; I don’t think I’ll ever get over that trend.

Exhibit A: stacking on the jewelry. This is actually a bit excessive for me but, case in point. Jewelry can change a minimal Winter Capsule Wardrobe in so many ways.

Some how I lucked out this year. It hasn’t been nearly as cold as it normally is so I haven’t purchased a warmer winter coat. I’m still wearing this teddy bear one from last year but it’s warm enough and I feel comfortable in it so there’s no need to change it.

It’s even been warm enough on some days to just wear my leather jacket which astounds me. Also I’m clearly not over the cami over tee ensemble. So 90’s, so understated ‘cool’.

Keep an eye out for my future Capsule Wardrobe post because I will most certainly be including some ethical brands that I am supporting for 2017.

DIY Air Plant Stands

After playing with polyclay for the DIY Wall Charms post last fall, I have wanted to come back to it and see what else I could create. I got the inspiration for these small plant stands at a local plant shop that carries small wooden ones. It took a few tries to get the perfect method for getting these somewhat polished and clean-lined air plant stands but the end result was worth it.

The process isn’t too difficult, the most important ingredient is patience because working with polyclay can be difficult. It’s hard to smooth out to be honest, which proves difficult when trying to make a bowl shaped object. Start with half of a 2oz package of polymer clay, work it in your hands to warm it up and use any objects you have around (i.e. rolling pin, glass bottle, chunky highlighter pen?) to roll the clay flat, smooth and even on a smooth surface like a cutting board or table. I rolled mine to about 1/4 in thick. The clay for my largest plant stand was rolled out to about 5 inches in diameter and the smallest to about 3 inches.

Find bowl shaped object that you have lying around (i.e. ramekin, sugar bowl, small drinking class?) that will function as a mold for your clay to bake on so make sure it’s safe to use in the oven. Carefully lift the clay off your rolling surface and lay it over the center of the bottom of your bowl shaped object. Gradually wrap the clay around the curve of the bowl shaped object.

Make the legs for your stand by rolling out 3 cylindrical objects that are the same size. Then attach them to the bottom of the clay bowl-shaped object that you just created. First line them up so they are all equidistant from each other then gently press the legs into the base of the air plant stand. The clay should fairly easily meld together. Before you bake, make sure the legs are still all the same length.

Once you’ve done that place your clay wrapped mold on to a baking sheet and follow the baking directions that are provided on the packaging of the polyclay (they usually differ from brand to brand).

Take out of the oven, let cool and fill with an air plant. These fun-sized plant stands make a great gift, even for Valentine’s Day in lieu of a bouquet of roses. Or have a Galentine’s Day get-together and create these with your gal pals. Or just make one for yourself. Either way, share with me what you make!