Cinco de Mayo is on the horizon, but I’m not touching the tequila this year. Actually, that’s a lie. Oh well, I tried. But guess what else I’m drinking? That’s right, sotol!! How’d you know? This desert spoon spirit has me all kinds of giddy. What-the-yum is sotol, you ask? Let me explain . . .
I’m obsessed with papel picado. Not only are they incredibly festive and beautiful, in their wide range of vibrant colors, but it’s amazing how intricate and detailed some of the designs can be – especially the traditional versions which are completely made by hand with only a handful of finely sharpened chisels. So with Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, I thought what better excuse than to DIY my own mini version with the leftover crepe paper from last year’s piñata? They aren’t nearly as ornate and elaborate as the kinds you can purchase but these mini “banderitas” are handmade, fun to make and easy to whip up on a whim. And I love them nonetheless.
Note to self: Do not walk into the grocery store sipping on a mint julep. The security guard will probably start following you around, especially if you’re stuffing bottles of bourbon into your basket. Mint julep popsicles on the other hand . . . now that’s a different story. To be honest, I didn’t know how these pops would turn out. There aren’t many ingredients to play around with in a mint julep, so getting the proper ratios was essential. I used demerara sugar for a little added complexity, a ton of fresh mint, and just enough bourbon to whet the palate. Don’t worry, I’ll still be mixing up the mint juleps this weekend. Oh, and my Derby Day prediction . . . California Chrome (how can you pass on that name?). You’re welcome.
Ingredients (makes 8 – 10 popsicles):
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1 cup mint
- 1/3 cup bourbon
It was a no brainer when it came to deciding on what cake to bake for my son Quincy’s first birthday. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s my husband’s favorite . . . and mine too, but let’s be honest, there really isn’t a cake I don’t love. I wanted to recreate Karen’s layered version and loved that she left the cake exposed, without all the super sugary frosted sides. It’s perfect for our baby’s first taste of cake and of course, enough frosting for him to make a photo worthy mess of it all. Dig in, Quincy. It’s your birthday!
In partnership with Bounty. Bring it!
A couple weeks ago I had the chance to meet up with one of my favorite peeps, Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean. We met up at the Alameda Antiques Faire, where she helped me pick out a vintage decanter. We then walked next door to St. George Spirits and hopped on a distillery tour, followed up by a tasting, of course (more on that later). If you’re not familiar with Tracy or her site, you’re seriously missing out. She has such a lovely variety of recipes: seasonal, healthy, simple, creative . . . I’ve even started checking her site for snacks! She’s an organizer, a planner, loves lists, and has the prettiest Instagram feed. In between sips of St. George bourbon (and absinthe if I remember correctly) she was nice enough to answer a few silly questions of mine. I hope you enjoy!!
How did you get into this whole blogging dealio?
When I finished art school in 2005 I needed a place online to showcase my photography portfolio, so I chose Shutter (as in the camera) and Bean (my nickname) and BAM! Shutterbean URL was born. I didn’t start actively blogging until 2007 when my husband & I bought our first house and I started documenting what I cooked & how we were decorating our house. I fell in love with the blogging community and thoroughly enjoyed the interaction I had with readers. It’s kept me going for the past 7 years . . .
If you weren’t so busy with Shutterbean, what would your “dream job” be?
Working as a food stylist and teaching Home Ec and Art classes to kids & teenagers.
I’m outraged. Okay, not really. But, why am I just learning about acai bowls and more importantly, why aren’t they sold everywhere!? I’m familiar with acai generally, but only recently learned about this particular application of frozen acai, blended and topped with fresh fruit and granola. It’s just the perfect little bowl of antioxidants and vitamins. Pure frozen acai is available at any health food store in the frozen aisle and come in individual packages. Simply run one package under water briefly, empty contents into a blender, and blend with frozen banana and splash of coconut water. Top with your favorite fruit and granola and there you go!
Also, I tried something new with today’s post and tinkered around with a video (and with lots of help from my very patient boyfriend). I hope you enjoy it!!
- 2 3.5-ounce package of pure unsweetened frozen acai pulp
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 coconut (or a splash of coconut water if you’re not making the coconut bowl)
- fresh fruit
To make the coconut bowl, hammer the tip of a clean screwdriver into two of the three holes on the coconut until it pierces through the shell. Drain the coconut water out into a cup. Hammer the coconut around the equator of the coconut– and hammer hard– until the coconut begins to crack. It won’t feel like it’s working at first, but keep hammering, it will eventually crack in half.
Run the package of frozen acai under water for a minute. Squeeze the package of acai into a blender and add the frozen peeled banana and a splash of the coconut water and blend. Pour into the coconut bowl and top with fresh fruit and granola.
Makes 2 servings. READ MORE