Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A different kind of recipe

Lets face it: We've eaten our faces off. It's time to wind down and get a little nutrition back into our bodies. It's tough going from zero to a hundred so I have some great links to get you inspired! First you can start with an easy, inspiring read: http://openheartpeacefulmind.wordpress.com/ It's my cousin Deven's blog. She's a recently certified yoga teacher, she also works closely with natural herbs and vitamins and has a really great voice in her blog that definitely inspires me, so take a peek!

A great website Deven got me hooked on is
http://www.livelighter.org/. This one inspiring article talks about the 17 most detoxifying drinks http://livelighter.org/the-17-most-detoxifying-drinks/ So that should be enough to get you started. Off to yoga I go... (http://www.northendyoga.com/)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Cold Weathered Classic: Hot Buttered Rum

Never was I a true fan of rum, but one evening at work I won a bottle of the stuff and was thrilled to take it home and put it on the kitchen shelf as a trophy. Now, what was I going to do with the stuff? Then I came across a cold weathered classic: Hot Buttered Rum. So easy and great to serve if you have company over! This recipe serves 12...Recipe as follows:


1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch salt
Bottle dark rum
Boiling water


In a bowl,cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately

Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple raisin fig bread pudding

For Thanksgiving I ended up making a delicious apple raisin & fig bread pudding, with fig ice cream on top. It was a hit! Very simple recipe, long baking time and memorable taste. This dish is nice if you are having a dinner party, because it's great to make ahead of time but instead of serving it with ice cream, serve it with a hot bourbon sauce or anything warm to balance out the room temp pudding. Check out the recipe and add whichever dry ingredients you like! I suggest serving them in little mason jars or mini souffle dishes!


2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup Marsala or brandy
9 white sandwich bread slices
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk (do not use lowfat or nonfat)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped


Combine raisins, figs and Marsala in small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 8-cup soufflé dish. Spread 1 side of each bread slice generously with butter. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Transfer to prepared dish. Mix sugar, eggs and egg yolk in large bowl. Whisk in cream and next 4 ingredients. Stir in apple, raisins and figs with Marsala. Pour over bread and stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Set soufflé dish in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to large pan to come 1 inch up sides of soufflé dish. Bake until custard is set and top is golden and puffed slightly in center, approximately 1 3/4 hours. Serve warm.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mission fig ice cream

I got my hands on some mission fig ice cream last night and decided that I am going to base a whole dish around it. I wanted to steer away from your quintessential ice-cream-is-dessert frame of mind, and use it with something savory...Until I found a savory dessert recipe that I'm trying to wrap my head around, hoping I can master the recipe.
We all know desserts aren't easy, but I'm up for a challenge.
How does a Pine nut tart with rosemary cream topped off with mission fig ice cream sound? Stay tuned!

"Cheese is alive. Nurture it!"

Seldom is it that I don't finish a block of cheese, but on those rare occasions that I do, I prefer wrapping it in this cheese paper that I bought at Star Provisions in Atlanta. You can purchase it directly online or seek out a retail shoppe that carries it. The pack comes with several sheets of double plyed paper, as well as blank labels, allowing you to write in which cheese it is, when you bought it, etc. It's perfect for the cheese lover in your life. The paper maintains proper humidity and allows adequate oxygen exchange to keep cheese alive and tasty! Formaticum cheese paper claims it "will be the difference between good cheese and bad cheese." Check out their website and get your hands on some

Sunday, November 21, 2010

For dinner last night...

Last night one of my favorite girls in the world came over, my cousin Deven. Since we were little, we always put our minds together to create yummy and pretty somethings. This something last night was a delicious pomegranate sauce to top off our grilled pork chops. We served them with sauteed spinach on the side. The spinach was sauteed with olive oil, ginger powder, caraway seed, rosemary and a lemon wedge. Interesting combo right? It was great. For the pork chops, we rubbed them with coriander, s&p, cumin and cinnamon and popped them in an oiled skillet. Once they were done, we took them out of the pan and poured a cup and a half of POM Wonderful juice to soak up all the pork flavors until it hit its boiling point. We scooped out some pomegranate seeds from about half of a pomegranate and added the fresh juices too. We put about two tablespoons of butter and voila, it was ready to be poured over our chops! Such a great fall dish, try it tonight!

Craft Appeal

Craft Appeal is a community for sharing great handmade work and by voting, you can help award the most appealing art and crafts from around the world.
Check out Olives & Grace on Craft Appeal and support us by giving us your vote!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Loving this wine right now...

So delicious. Exactly what I was looking for tonight! It's a Super Tuscan... a little Cab Franc, a little Sangiovese & a little Cab. Bought it for $30 at the Wine Bottega on Hanover Street. http://thewinebottega.com/

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuscan Beef Stew with Polenta

Today the temps hit under 40 degrees, so I thought, what's more comforting than a hearty beef stew? I stumbled upon this easy recipe at Epicurious (of course). Here it is:

(For stew)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, cut into medium dice
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds stew beef, such as boneless chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium tomatoes, halved
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make stew in heavy, large saucepan over moderately high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add beef and sauté, stirring occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add wine and thyme, stir well, and bring to boil. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then lower heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes, until beef is tender, about 2 hours.

While beef is simmering, make polenta
Pour olive oil into large serving bowl and swirl to coat. Set aside.
In heavy, large pot over moderately high heat, bring stock to boil. Lower heat to moderate and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until polenta thickens and pulls away from sides of pan, about 10 minutes. Transfer to oil-coated serving bowl and keep warm.

Serve When beef is tender, use tongs to remove tomato skins (if desired) and thyme sprigs. Transfer stew to large serving bowl. Serve polenta alongside.
(PS- I used Pastene instant Polenta... takes 4 minutes and is a definite time saver and just as good)

Olives & Grace!

I couldnt be more proud to announce the finalized concept, created by my best friend, Sofi and I. Olives & Grace will be your source for personalized gifts, favors and more. Stay tuned for project and event announcements. In the meantime, find us on Twitter and Facebook! Our website is www.olivesandgrace.com it is currently in the making, but keep checking for our progress! Thank you for all of your support.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

uncommon goods

www.uncommongoods.com is probably one of my favorite places to find quirky gifts that you cant find anywhere else. They have great cheese boards, wine glass sets and everything in between. Let the gift giving season begin!

Peppermint Bark Soap

It's a beautifully layered handmade soap with an oatmeal base with scents of candy cane and fresh peppermint leaves, it's infused with cranberry seeds. Definitley a holiday favorite and one of my most edible bars!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My business card

My business card surounded by fresh flowers & herbs that I regularly use in my soaps!
Photography done by Megan Elmstrom

Just in time for Thanksgiving...

Somebody needs to make this soup. It's SO ridiculously easy. It's afordable and it's delicious. Seared scallops over pumpkin soup with toasted hazelnuts, just in time for Thanksgiving. This recipe serves 2, here it is-


12 oz fresh sea scallops
1 can (15oz) unflavored pumpkin puree
2 tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts
8-10 chives, chopped
1 cup of chicken broth
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp evoo


  • Toast chopped hazelnuts- place in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Set aside.

  • Combine pumpkin puree, honey, butter and broth in a medium saucepan and heat the mixture on low until it is warmed- add s&p to taste

  • Preheat skillet over medium/high heat. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season them with s&p to taste. Add oil to the pan and add the scallops. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until they're firm, browned and caramelized

  • Pour soup into bowls. Add scallops and hazelnuts and garnish with chopped chives

So yummy and quick. Great as a first course if you're having an intimate holiday dinner party! Somebody make it and send me your thoughts!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Coffee & Cream

Tonights menu

Today in Boston the weather is cold and wet with snow in the forecast! To me, the cold is all about cozy, warm, comfort foods (and big sweaters and boots and candles and wine). So, tonight I'm trying a new recipe that I found. It's a Pumpkin soup with sea scallops and toasted hazelnuts (1st course) Then I'm going to grill some pork chops and finish them off with a red onion, pomegranate, orange & parsley gremolata! Oooo lala. Stay tuned for photos and recipes. YUM.

Soap Menu

For those of you who arent familiar with the boston jack soapline soap MENU,
here it is!

The Vanillas-

· Rosemary vanilla sage
· Tahitian vanilla chamomile
· French lavender & vanilla
· Creamy vanilla butter pie
· Brazilian sea salt, cracked pepper & vanilla
The Cucumbers-
· Thyme ginger cucumber
· Cucumber mint
· Cucumber wasabi cilantro
· Cool chamomile cucumber
The Holidays -
· Cinnamon apple butter pie
· Brown sugar fig
· Candy cane peppermint
· Cranberry apple butter pie
· Holiday vanilla cranberry
· Christmas tree
· Brown sugar spiced eggnog
· Walnut gingerbread

And I've added one more that I'm THRILLED about... it's a coffee and cream soap bar. It's a fabulous kitchen soap because it takes away smells from the skin like garlic and fish. Perfect for the holiday cooks! Treat your holiday host with a bar!

Holiday rush

Believe it or not, It's November. The holidays are right in front of us and I've been cranking out some serious batches of soap. I've been selling to two local, North End, shops (Eclectic in North Square and CLUTCH on Endicott St.) plus all the personalized orders in between and last but not least the craft fair in San Fran that is set for November 21st! I won't be there, but my gracious and lovely Sofi will be there to represent us and our soaps! So, if you're in the San Fran area, message me for event details and go pick up some lucious soaps!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My chili recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large red onions, chopped
5 tablespoons chopped jalapeño chilies with seeds
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/3 pounds ground beef (15% fat)
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 15 1/4-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
1 14-ounce can beef broth
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until brown, about 6 minutes. Add jalapeños and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add beef; sauté until brown, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, and paprika, then mix in tomatoes with juices, beans, and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chili thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Skim any fat from surface of chili.

Ladle chili into bowls. Serve, passing bowls of sour cream, grated cheese, green onions, and cilantro separately. YUM

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pick your poison

Today I put on my domestic shoes and baked up these delicous cupcakes. Simple vanilla cake and chocolate frosting with orange sprinkles. I scored these great cupcake liners and picks last minute at the Boylston Street iParty. I sprinkled the tray with some festive candy corn and it made for a warm cozy October night.

Boston jack handmade soaps!

Here they are everybody, my handmade soaps! These shown are oatmeal based with fragranced oils and fresh herbs. Making the soap was just the beginning, my favorite part was creating the packaging. I added beautiful gems to the unique paper, handcut & wrote the descriptive tags, added my business card, tied with twine and there you have it. If anybody is interested in trying out my soaps, just comment or get in touch with me through facebook or twitter (@handmadeboston) I'd love to send them your way! xo

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cupcake vineyards

Well, let's just state the obvious. I bought this bottle of vino at my local wineshop simply because the vineyards name is Cupcake... & it's actually pretty decent; a smooth cab with dark fruit and molten mocha hints. Cupcake anything, is a must have for me!

Flavor of the day

I spent the best part of my morning making soap! The flavors of the day are vanilla rosemary sage and thyme ginger cucumber. The rosemary and sage are fresh from my uncles garden, yum! Tomorrow I'll be heading to some shops to get decorative paper to wrap them in. They'll be finished with a thick twine and my own handcrafted tags with descriptions. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Made with love

These heartwarming, quote engraved measuring spoons come from a collection of kitchenwares at Beehive Kitchenware, an online haven for housewarming nicknacks. Take a peek and make a purchase for yourself or a loved one at http://www.beehivekitchenware.com/index.php

Bows on the toes

Adorable and practical. One of the smartest, recent trends I've seen is interchangable shoe clips. Instead of buying 50 pairs of shoes, why not just change out the fun of it? The clip seen above comes from the shop at no. 144 on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/No144?section_id=7154985) So if you're out and about ALL day, and have to change outfits, why lug another pair of shoes around all day? Just switch the clip! LOVE it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweaters for your to-go

I want one just because. I mean, really, look at it, it's cute as a button.
You can find this cozy to-go cup sweater in a variety of colors on Etsy at
Not only is Liz Smith, of Made in Lowell, awesome for hand knitting these,
but she's also a local bay stater, and you know I love my local crafters.
Check her out on Etsy and follow her on Twitter @madeinlowell

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mercato del SUSHI

Long time friends and owners of Mercato del Mare (the only fish store in the North End) have a new fishy in town. They're now serving up sushi made to order. Definitley a refreshing amenity in a neighborhood filled of mostly pasta, bread and cheese! Go visit them at 99 Salem Street in the North End (Boston) ask for Keri or Liz and tell 'em Alexis sentcha! Check out their website and go ahead and Like! them on facebook! http://northendfish.com/

DIY mason jars

As if we didnt love mason jars enough already,
now you can tint them whatever color you desire.
Check it out here for DIY how-to's http://100layercake.com/blog/archives/9009

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My friends coffee table

Fresh flowers, mimosas, rad sunglasses, a jar of lemondrop cookies
& perfect antique espresso cups...all on a rustic treasure chest turned coffee table?
Looks like a sunday afternoon to me. Big love to my Brooklyn girls.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Join me at North End Yoga on Hanover Street
www.northendyoga.com for the schedule
They just added massage & accupuncture to their studio
Namaste all day :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Local love

I'm completely intrigued by these unique handstamped leather necklaces.
She also does luggage tags, ornaments, bookmarks, etc.
Some have inspirational quotes and others can be personalized.
Even better is that she's a local Bostonian!
Her shop is on Etsy and it's called "Of The Fountain"
Go check it out, they make great gifts and are completely reasonably priced!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


For all you mommy's out there, like me, you might just fall in love with these precious and hip blocks. They're designed by Alexander Girard and you can get them at the momastore at....

SoWa halloween market

As you may or may not know, for those of you in Boston Proper, SoWa market Sunday's go on from May through October. Their last market of the season falls on Halloween and they're celebrating with costume contests, pumkin carving and live music. Go here to check out their official website http://www.southendopenmarket.com/
The New York Times says,
"This is Boston's version of London's Portobello market, with vintage clothes sellers and young fashion and jewelry designers rubbing elbows with artists and cheese makers and antiques dealers. What's exciting about this market is that it changes each week. So, some Sundays you'll discover a local artist who is there only that day. Everyone sells from tables beneath white tents."

Candy corn cupcakes

Brilliant. For the recipe, go here:

I adore white pumpkins

Five more days 'till our move, and I'm so ready to start decorating with white pumpkins, they have such a rustic feel to them and they'll go perfect in and around the house!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Next project...

Handmade soaps with my specialty tags and ties :)
Stay tuned...

Chalkboard everything

I am moving into a new place in 8 days which just gives me the automatic permission to re-decorate. One of my newest, most affordable obsessions is chalkboarding EVERYTHING. I just purchased a roll of chalkboard contact paper, aka I can stick chalkboards all over the place scribled with lists, inspirational quotes, etc. You should chalkboard something in your living space too!

Have a great day

This inspires me to have a great day, I hope you do too

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How to: Distress a dresser

I'm pretty much completely obsessed with the distressed look, and I just picked up two dressers that I've been thinking about distressing but I wasnt confident enough to do so, but I just stumbled upon this tutorial and it looks like a distressed dresser or two is lurking in my future... go here to learn how!

Chairs? what chairs?

Just imagine this: you're at your best friends wedding and while they're walking down the aisle and exchanging their vows, you and your loved one and friends are sprawled out on a blanket, snacking on goodies from the picnic basket, celebrating love and fresh air.
Love this idea.

I just love cheese

Cheese table at Salts

An inspirational, outdoor cheese table

I'm starting to think about my fall dinner party and I think I will have a cheese table and I'll create description tags similar to the ones above


Sous-Vide Lobster, Vanilla-Infused Sea Salt, Tempura, Carrot Foam

Kasu Salt-Cured Oysters, Pickled Cherries, Sea Water Foam

Liquid Pomegranate Truffle, Fennel Pollen Rose Salt, Orange Fennel "Eau de Vie".

Foie Gras "Torchon", Native Strawberries, Salts Farm Rhubarb, Lychee, Almond Crumble, Brioche

So, there's been a lot of talk lately around my restaurant about SALTS, a Cambridge based restaurant. A co-worker of mine is moving on from our restaurant and onto to SALTS. These photos inspired me to make my birthday dinner reservation (for November). Yum.