Make – Mini Lavender Cupcakes

One of the things that I love to do during summer and when I have spare time, is work in my flower garden. There’s something therapeutic about gardening for me, and I love the reward of the beautiful blooms as the seasons transition. Currently I’m obsessing over the 3 varieties of lavender I have growing. The gorgeous purple flowers and aroma they give off remind me of the warmth of summer days. And I enjoy trimming a few sprigs as I choose for summer cocktails, treats and garnishes. Such a versatile bloom with so many uses.

Lavender

The obsession that I have with lavender has extended beyond the plant itself, making it’s way into some of my favorite store-bought items and restaurant orders too. There’s a cute little lounge bar in my hometown called The Real McCoy that I frequent with my girlfriends. One of our favorite items on their menu (aside from the drinks) is their Lavender Marcona Almonds. There’s just something about the crunch of the salt with the combination of the lavender pods that make them insanely addictive and a must try.

Another product that I discovered several months back and fell in love with was Lavender DRY Soda. If you have been visiting me here for a while, you may already be aware of how much I love DRY products as I explained in my Valentine’s Floats here. All their sodas are all natural, lightly sweetened and have fewer calories. Yes and yes! If you haven’t tasted DRY soda yet, I highly recommend it! The lavender is one of my favorites flavors. It’s subtle and not too overpowering, making it perfect for sipping on a warm afternoon, using as a cocktail mixer or drinking anytime really.

Lavender Dry Soda

To pay homage to my favorite summer bloom, I’ve made a sweet treat, perfect for summer parties. I chose the mini cupcake because they’re bite size, adorable and everyone loves them! I used the same recipe for my mini champagne cupcakes to make them, but this time instead of using champagne I added a posh twist by incorporating Lavender DRY soda and fresh lime zest. They turned out incredibly moist and delicious with subtle floral notes, and a light sweetness.

If you love lavender, you will truly enjoy this cupcake!

Mini Lavender Cupcakes

sweet. floral. decadent.

Mini Lavender Cupcakes (DF)

The addition of the soda keeps the cupcake moist, while also adding subtle flavor. The cupcakes were made using coconut oil in place of butter to make them dairy free.

Mini lavender cupcakes

Ingredients/Supplies

24 mini cupcake liners

Mini cupcake pan

Paper straws and fresh lavender sprigs for garnish.

3/4 Cup All purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut spread or vegan butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 and a half egg whites
1/2 cup Lavender DRY Soda
Lime zest from 1/2 a lime (optional)

(this recipe makes just enough for 24 mini cupcakes, simply double the ingredients for full size cupcakes.)

Lavender DRY soda

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350
Place liners in your mini muffin tin pan.
Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Beat vegan butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
Add vanilla and beat in egg white.
Beat in dry mixture and DRY soda in thirds alternating each time (start and finish with dry mixture).

Teaspoon batter 2/3 of the way into liners and bake for roughly 10 minutes until a toothpick comes put clean.

Garnish as you wish.

Source: Cupcake recipe adapted from 20 Something Cupcakes

For the Icing

Mini lavender cupcakes

Lavender Infused Buttercream (V)

I infused some dried lavender pods and lime zest into a stick of dairy free butter for the vegan buttercream icing. This recipe is a must try and a Posh Little Designs original.

2 sticks vegan butter (1 cup)

1.5 tablespoons dried lavender pods

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Lime zest (for extra flavor)

Instructions

Heat  butter and lavender pods in a sauce pan on medium low.

Allow the butter to fully melt and simmer with the lavender pods for about 2 minutes to infuse the flavor.

Remove from heat and pour butter through a fine mesh strainer to remove all excess pods.

Allow the butter to firm up for an hour or two on the counter,  be sure not to place it in the fridge as you want it in a softened state for the icing.

Once butter has firmed, place in the bowl of a stand mixer, with powdered sugar and lime zest.

Mix the ingredients together for a few minutes using the paddle attachment. Spoon lavender buttercream into piping bag, and pipe onto your cupcakes.

Mini Lavender Cupcakes

Wouldn’t these  be adorable for summertime parties. Think bridal showers or baby showers. You and your guests are sure to love them. For the full experience, make sure to wash them down with a bottle of Lavender DRY Soda.

Mini Lavender Cupcakes

Now switching gears back to party mode. I’ll have more to share with you and the strawberry shortcake celebration very soon.

Thanks for reading!

xo

Images are photographed and owned property of Posh Little Designs. All Rights Reserved 2013.
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Strawberry Shortcake Party Essentials

Hello! Hope everyone had a great weekend! I’ve been busy getting plans in order for my daughter’s 4th birthday which is coming up in just 6 days. I can hardly believe it! The summer has surely flown. My sister will also be flying in from LA this Saturday and staying for a full week which means life is gonna be hectic here at home. Whenever things get a little crazy and I don’t have much time for fresh blog concepts, I rely on Instagram to share with all of you what I’m up to. An easy way to still feel connected throughout the chaos.

Below is a look at a few of the decorative essentials I’ve compiled for the party and posted to Instagram a few days ago. As you know, our theme is Strawberry shortcake. We’ll be combining elements for a picnic/chic themed event, like the lace and twine accents, washi tape wrapped wood cutlery, my favorite baking cups, green striped paper straws (which can be found in my Etsy Shop), and some custom strawberry shortcake labels made by yours truly.

20130729-150831.jpgI’m so excited to see how it all comes together!

I’ll be sharing more party snippets from Instagram later this week. Plus I’ll have a sweet treat from this past weekend up on the blog soon.

I hope you check back in for the recipe and to see how everything relating to the party ends up!

In the meantime, let’s be friends on Instagram.

Have a lovely week.

xo

Make – Homemade Ice-cream Cones

Were you aware that this Sunday happens to be National Ice Cream day (the 3rd Sunday in July)?  I certainly wasn’t until I came across a bit of info while browsing my twitter feed. But you don’t have to tell me twice. I’ll take full advantage of the excuse to eat ice-cream all weekend. Dairy free ice-cream that is.

Most of you are aware that I eliminated dairy and soy from my diet a little over a year ago, so I usually don’t get the opportunity to enjoy the frozen treat, but I love that they have so many alternatives these days! Fruity gelato, sorbet and my favorite coconut milk ice-cream. It may not be typical, but I’m not your typical gal, so it suits me and my family perfectly. I can’t remember the last time I had ice-cream in a cone, but the thought of them brings me back to my childhood days. All those good memories got me thinking it would be fun to relive those moments by making homemade cones. Besides, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holiday!

But of course they wouldn’t be posh without a little twist, so I’ve added a few extra elements to the cones. I made them in minis (because everything’s cuter in pint size,) and dressed them up by dipping the tips in chocolate. I used vegan dark chocolate and nonpareil sprinkles for a final touch, then pairing them with vegan strawberry coconut milk ice-cream from Trader Joes. Perfect combo. My entire family loved them.

Homemade Ice-cream cones

 Homemade Ice-cream Cones (mini)

After I came across the idea to make homemade cones here, and discovered I had everything I needed to make them from scratch, I did a little happy dance! Believe it or not, the only bit of equipment you need is a Panini press….yes a Panini press (and electric mixer.) Such a genius idea, and probably the best cone I’ve ever tasted, especially right when they come off the grill. I think I could have eaten the entire batch warm. And to make things better, it’s one of the simplest recipes I’ve tried. The basic ingredients can be found in your pantry and fridge without having to make additional trips to the grocery store. I made these dairy free using vegan butter, but you could certainly use regular butter if you so prefer.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Supplies/Ingredients

Panini Press (or baking sheet you can make also these in the oven)

Electric or stand mixer.

1 sheet parchment paper

1 half sheet of paper rolled to shape a cone (or other cone-shaped item.)

2/3 cups sugar

3 egg whites

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup melted vegan butter.

Vegan Coconut Milk Ice-cream in flavor of choice (or any ice-cream you prefer)

For dipped cones

6 oz vegan dark chocolate

sprinkles of choice

Homemade Ice-cream cones

Instructions

Place 3 egg whites in large mixing bowl with sugar. Beat on med for 30 seconds until frothy.

Mix in butter, flour and vanilla until smooth batter forms and all lumps have disappeared.

Heat Panini grill (or oven to 400 degrees)

Take 1/2 to 3/4 of a spoonful (teaspoon size) and drop it on the center of the grill.

Press down lid and allow batter to cook for about 60 seconds.

Open press and remove from grill once golden brown.

Place on sheet of parchment paper and roll cookie around the cone-shaped device, making a tight point on 1 end.

The cookie is much easier to form when still warm, so work quickly.

Set aside finished cones to cool.

Repeat steps until all cones are rolled.

homemade ice-cream cone - instructions

For Oven Instructions

Place 1 to 2 tablespoons batter onto parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the batter into thin circles. Bake for 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly roll cookie into cone shape using paper mold for assistance. Set aside to cool. Repeat steps until all cones are rolled.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Spoonful

Chocolate Dipped

Homemade Ice-cream cones

Homemade Ice-cream cones

While cones are cooling, heat dark chocolate in microwave on 30 second intervals until melted.

Dip the tips of each cone in the chocolate (this also forms a seal for the cone so any melting ice-cream doesn’t drip through,) and top with sprinkles.

You can place the finished cones on parchment paper in the fridge for 20 minutes until the chocolate has set.

Then simply fill cones with your favorite flavor of ice-cream and serve!

Great for kids of all ages and the perfect bite-size cones for summer parties.

Homemade Ice-cream cones

If you prefer ice-cream sundaes instead, the cones can be cut into triangle shapes and used as sweet sundae topper. So cute and delicious too!

Homemade Ice-cream cones

homemade ice-cream sundae

Everyone loves ice-cream! What’s your favorite flavor? If I still ate dairy it would be chocolate chip mint, hands down. I still remember the after dinner mint ice-cream from the 80s. My Dad would bring it home for us to enjoy as a treat literally after dinner. One of my best memories as a child. How do you plan on celebrating National Ice-cream Day?

Check back soon!

xo

All images are photographed and owned property of Posh Little Designs. All Rights Reserved 2013.

Travel gram – New Orleans

Last week my family and I took a short trip to historic New Orleans for a family reunion. What an amazing time we had in the city! Such a great time that once Monday came around we weren’t ready to go home. It was like one big party while we were there which is probably one of the reasons I loved it so much! Plus we got to spend quality time with some family members we hadn’t seen in years. That combined with all that the city has to offer made it the perfect little getaway for us.

From the incredibly delicious cuisine, to the oversized cocktails. Everything we tasted was fresh, full of flavor and well seasoned. I can say without question that it was some of the best food we’ve ever tasted. My favorites were the bloody Mary’s from Stanley, the authentic beignets from Cafe Du Monde and the famous thin cut catfish from nearly every restaurant in the French Quarter.

Open days gave us plenty of time to explore the city, enjoy live music, go down famous Bourbon Street, and peruse the french market for souvenirs and local goodies. One of our favorite locations to stroll was St Charles Avenue where beautiful homes with spanish architecture, columned porches and rocking chairs lined the street. True southern charm!

There were many great moments to remember, but one of the best was the 3 hour bus tour that our reunion committee set up for all of us to enjoy. We were able to experience the culture, learn the history of the city, the homes, the architecture, and our ancestors, while also seeing some beautiful landmarks and the devastation that hurricane Katrina left behind. This was an experience we will never forget.

Here are some of the highlights taken via Instagram. Between my iPhone and DSLR I don’t think I’ve ever snapped so many photos in my life.

World famous beignets. Beautiful royal horse-drawn carriages in Jefferson Square. The stunning St. Louise Cathedral and live jazz that reminds me of my Dad.

20130717-090102.jpg

Bourbon Street and the beautiful spanish and french influenced architecture. Me enjoying the sights of the homes off St. Charles Ave. My girls and hubby enjoying the sweet beignets, and the French Market, filled with specialty shops, authentic food, fresh produce, live music, lots of trinkets and souvenirs.

Um…can we go back already?20130717-090119.jpgAs you can see we had a blast and although I’m still in vacation mode, Im forcing my self to switch gears as I have my daughter’s 4th birthday coming up in just a few weeks. I have so much to get done before then, but I’ll have more to share soon.

If you haven’t been to New Orleans yet, I highly recommend going! If you have, please share some of your favorite experiences from the city! I’d love to hear them!

You can view more from our trip on instagram! Let’s be friends.

Thanks for reading!

xo

Celebrate – S is for Strawberry

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, I’m sure you’re aware that my daughter is getting ready to turn 4 in just a few weeks! Each year as her birthday approaches we allow her to choose a party theme and this year she chose one of her favorites, Strawberry Shortcake. I’ve already started on the planning process and have many ideas that I’ll be incorporating to make her celebration special and memorable.

When I think of strawberry shortcake, the first things that comes to mind for me is the fruit itself, and when I think of strawberries, I’m reminded of everything we love about summer in the pacific northwest. The local berry stands that line the country roads, lazy afternoons in the backyard, fresh lemonade, the farmers market and an array of delicious fresh and local products.

One of our favorite things to do during summer is to have picnics. We love to lounge in the sun and enjoy our surroundings, while also having a bite to eat. In turn this inspired me to create a picnic style strawberry shortcake party for my daughter! A less literal approach, but I still plan to tie in many strawberry shortcake character details.

From gingham to floral prints, polka-dots and doilies, a super girly celebration is sure to emerge, as sweet as the berry itself.

Strawberry party inspiration by PLD

Below is the invitation I hand created in photoshop. We just mailed them off to our lovely guests this week.

Strawberry Shortcake inspired invites by PLD

What are your thoughts on this party inspiration? Do you like the idea? If so and you’re looking to create a similar celebration of your own, I’ve provided the links below for all items shared in this post.

Sources: 1. gingham bunting 2. picnic packs 3. floral fabric 4. gingham washi 5. tissue pom 6. polkadot balloons 7. strawberry gummies 8. doilies 9. pink berry baskets 10. baking cups

strawberry watercolor illustration

Many of the items above came from my Strawberry Shortcake pinterest board. I invite you to join me there if you haven’t already. Let’s be friends!

xoxo

Four

It’s difficult for me to grasp that my sweet little girl is getting older so fast. In less than a years time we’ll be registering her for kindergarten and this just blows my mind! I swear it feels like just a few months ago that I held her in my arms for the very first time and now in 1 month she’ll be four years old (tear.) Although I’ve enjoyed every moment of her growth, this stage is by far one of my favorites. Whether she’s telling us a story, singing a made up song, doing a little dance, or making a funny statement, she always finds a way to keep us laughing, smiling, and and also on our toes.

I’ve been scrambling a bit lately because I only have a little over 3 weeks to plan her birthday party. Yes, only 3 weeks! Normally this wouldn’t be a big issue, but our schedules at home have been so hectic lately (story of my life,) which is why it’s been a little quiet on the blog. In any event, I appreciate you continuing to read, even during the inconsistent times.

 This year she chose a theme of Strawberry Shortcake and I can’t wait to put my stamp on the celebration. I’ve already been busy with the invitations and will have those to share with you soon. In the meantime here’s the shots from our little backyard photo-shoot the other day. Instead of telling her to say cheese, I like to follow her around with the camera while she plays. It’s a sure way to create natural moments and allow her personality to shine through.

what she wore

A coordinating striped summer dress and jeweled headpiece to match our party color scheme of pink, red and green. Both were purchased at Gap. We picked a glittery tutu and pink ruffle blouse for her 2nd look. Both were found at Macys.

Set 1: complete with a smile that light’s up a room and some signature poses too.

4th bday

4th Birthday

4th Birthday

4th Birthday

4th Birthday

set 2: includes some honest moments + one w/ little sister, and a cute little topknot.

4th Birthday

4th Birthday

4th Birthday

I’ll admit that I’m a bit on the emotional side when it comes to my children and I think it’s because time has gone by way faster than I ever anticipated. Am I the only one who feels this way? I guess my remedy for the time being is to continue taking photos because I find that with each capture, time seems to stand still for at least a moment.

For all of you mommies out there, does it ever slow down, or is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? What’s your favorite way to hold onto memories of your little ones? I’d love to hear them.

 ♥

Check back soon for more details from her Strawberry Shortcake party in the making!

xo

Images are photographed and owned property of Posh Little Designs. All Rights Reserved 2013.

Make – Prosecco Infused Fruit ~ Red, White & Blue

One of the must serve beverages at a posh celebration is sparkling wine/champagne! The bubbles, fizz and pop of the cork represent everything that a party should be. And since it’s available in all price ranges it’s affordable for any type of gathering. Pour it in your best flutes or pair it with your favorite mixer and you have a party on your hands in a matter of seconds. Or if you’re up to trying something new you can pair it with some festive fruit for the Fourth of July holiday happening in just a few short days.

Prosecco infused fruit

Prosecco is the Italian and less expensive alternative to champagne. The sparkling wine is sweet to taste and usually a bit on the dry side. It’s a classic in bellinis and goes well with all sorts of fruits, which is why I chose to use it for this recipe. La Marca happens to be one of my favorite brands of prosecco. It’s good quality and well priced. I picked watermelon, pear and blueberries to tie in the colors of the Independence Day holiday. Cut the fruit into star shapes using a mini star cookie cutter and finished them with handmade ribbon toothpick flags.

Fourth of July Fabulous.

Prosecco Infused Fruit

Prosecco Infused Fruit – Red White & Blue

The Prosecco paired with the watermelon, pear and blueberry is light, refreshing and the perfect celebratory bite and palate cleanser to serve between an appetizer and main course, or as an after dinner refreshment.

Serves 12

Ingredients/Supplies

1 bottle Prosecco/Sparkling Wine

1  half of a miniature watermelon sliced into 2 inch thick rounds

2 pears sliced into 2 inch thick pieces

12 blueberries (or 1 for each guest)

Fresh lemon juice

Mini star-shaped cookie cutter (optional…you can always cut them into even squares or rounds – use what you have on hand)

12 Appetizer spoons

12 toothpicks and red ribbon.

Instructions

Slice watermelon and pear into even pieces.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over sliced pear to prevent browning.

Using your mini star cookie cutter begin cutting the fruit rounds into star shapes.

Place all cut fruit into a medium size bowl adding the blueberries last.

Pour champagne over top the fruit until fruit is fully submerged.

Place in fridge to chill and soak for 1 to 2 hours.

Prosecco infused fruit

Meanwhile and if you’re feeling crafty, you can prep the toothpick flags.

Toothpick Ribbon Flags

Cut ribbon into 4 inch straight line pieces.

Place the toothpick to the end of each piece of ribbon and tie, double-knotting until secure.

To add the pointed edge, simply cut a small triangle from the end of each piece of ribbon.

Set toothpick flags aside until fruit is ready to skewer.

Ribbon Toothpicks - DIY

Assembly

Once your fruit is fully infused (feel free to take a taste) it’s ready to be skewered.

Skewer the center of the blueberry first, followed by 1 piece of pear and one piece of watermelon.

Make sure your toothpick is not sticking out of the bottom of the watermelon otherwise your infused stacks will not stand up straight. None of the pick should be showing from the bottom.

Place each infused fruit stack onto a single serving appetizer spoon and finish by filling with a little extra Prosecco. A nice final note after the infused fruit has been eaten.

Repeat these steps and place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Prosecco Infused Fruit

Prosecco infused fruit

Prosecco Infused Fruit

Enjoy!

Posh little tip: To make these kid friendly or non alcoholic, simply serve them as skewers by soaking them in sparkling cider instead of sparkling wine.

Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has a safe and memorable one! Please do check back soon for more!

As always, I appreciate you reading.

xo

This concept and fruit skewer recipe is a Posh Little Designs original. Images are photographed and owned property of Posh Little Designs. All Rights Reserved 2013.