Monday, December 20, 2010

vanilla skies

The heavens have really opened up over the past few days here in LA and it has been raining non stop.  I can't even remember the last time I felt this much rain and there's no signs of it stopping... at least until Thursday!  Last week a I got an email from a beautiful blogger who asked what my favorite holiday cookie was... Well I had to think about it. I love so many different flavors {chocolate, spice, caramel I could go on} and I find it truly hard to narrow it down.... and then I remembered with my favorite cookie, I can have it all!
My Vanilla Bean sandwich cookies are the perfectly chewy package that allow me the versatility to indulge in whatever flavor I'm currently coveting. It's so much fun having them in the house because they're just asking for you to get creative! I've been known to fill them with a pumpkin spice cheesecake mixture, ice cream, maple glaze, mint chocolate ganache and even marshmallow fluff! Really the options are endless!
the chirpy birds vanilla bean cookies
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 small egg
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean halved length ways and deseeded 

preheat oven to 350F
Whip together butter and sugar until light and fluffy in electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachement. Add vanilla extract, seeds and egg continuing to beat until incorporated. Separately sift dry ingredients together and slowly add. Fold together by hand and then place 1 tablespoon of cookie mixture on sheet pan.  Bake in oven until just set - about 8 minutes. Don't over bake otherwise they will lose their chewy texture!
Now I've treated myself, I'm off to find something to treat her!

xo tash

Friday, December 17, 2010

step by step

I love doing food posts and there are times when I try really hard to show the step by step process of how to recreate what I've discovered in the kitchen.  Then I stumbled across this genius foodie and have been completely inspired.
Marina Aurora showcases all of the steps of her cooking process in the one photo. How fantastic is that?
Not to mention that her other photography is also gorgeous. The choice of colors and textures is just gorgeous!
Now to get back in the kitchen and create something delicious for this rainy week ahead of us Los Angelinos! Whatever will we do?!
xx tash

discovered here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Smile a 'little'...

because we were all little once...






littleorphanammo:solfey:alijk007:fuckyeahoctopi:Baby octopus.(via crispina)








Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Warm Me Up

It was only 5 seconds ago that I was complaining about the sweltering heat here in LA and then yesterday it dipped down and began to rain...sigh.... thank God! A forecast to fit my holiday mood and compulsion to consume as much seasonal food as possible!
Here's some of my favorite ways of keeping warm.
Light my fire!

What I 'wood' not do to curl up to a darling fire in this dreamy space and read a page turner.

Press snooze for an extra 10 minutes! And if you're feeling really craazy 'chuck a sicky' as we say in Australia... {english translation, call in sick} When's the last time you gave yourself a day off where you did absolutely nothing? Not catching up on all the stuff you didn't get time to finish, but just did what you wanted to do?! What are you waiting for? Treat yourself, it will all still be waiting for you tomorrow and you deserve it! For a list of things to do while you're in bed, check this out!
Keep your noggin warm!

You know they say that around 50% of all body heat is lost through your head! Keep it toasty folks, it makes the world of difference {never mind that I live in LA and have no idea what it's like to live in the REAL cold}.
Dress Me Up
Faux fur, cute boots with thick woolen coats....I just blacked out it all looks so delicious. But seriously can we talk about those gray pants for  minute? Yes, yes please... Don't think I'm not going on a shopping rampage trying to recreate both of these looks today!
From the inside!

Warm baths, hot chocolate, whipped cream, and something delicious. Nothing like warming up from the inside!

Hope you're keeping toasty no matter where you are!

xx tash

p.s. so sorry about yesterdays photos! Am doing my best to try and fix it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


D’espresso Cafe Interior nema workshop interior
If your mind is saying 'Hold it! Shut the front door I don't get it and my brain hurts.' Don't worry, so was mine! This fabulous Espresso bar in New York City {home of all avant garde fabulousness} was designed by Nema Workshop and together they created this fantastical library.... and then turned it sideways!

D’espresso Cafe Interior despresso interior decorating
I'm in love with the herringbone flooring on the wall and the ghost chair seating. Such a brilliant way to exacerbate the "ripley's believe it or not" effect of the space.
D’espresso Cafe Interior d’espresso cafe interior
D’espresso Cafe Interior d’espresso cafe
...I think NY is calling my name... along with Paris, London, Berlin and the rest of the world. Okay travel bug, I'm hearing you loud and clear!

xx tash


Monday, December 13, 2010

Spicy Style

Last night my beautiful friend was given an award for her gorgeous fashionista ways at the Hollywood Style Awards.  Our close knit group of friends and her new hubs got together to cheer her on and watch her accept the award with all of the poise and grace that comes so naturally to her. Bulbs were flashing and drinks were flowing and it certainly was the season to be jolly!
This morning I awoke with a craving for my pumpkin spice ginger bread.... Even though the thought of turning the oven on in this insane heat made me think twice, in the end my taste buds always win out!
the Chirpy Bird's Pumpkin Spice Ginger Bread.

Batch One:
1 2/3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Batch Two:
1 1/2 sticks of melted butter
1 cup of lightly pressed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of canned pumpkin

Struesel topping
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1/3 cup of rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter

Maple Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
Melt butter and set aside to cool a little.  Sift together Batch One and set aside. Bring Batch Two together and mix until evenly incorporated. Mix together Batch One and Batch Two and fold until just brought together {never wanting to over work the flour}.
To make the Streusel, sift together dry ingredients and thing add cold butter. Bring together with your fingertips until it looks like chunky breadcrumbs.

Pour bread batter into designated dishes and top with crumble mixture. Bake in pre heated oven for around 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your dish.  Allow to cool for around 15 minutes and them mix together the glaze and drizzle on top!
Perfect way to recover from a Hollywood holiday night out!

xx tash

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where's the Holiday Spirit?

Mum and I have been enjoying a lot of much loved mother daughter time.  Spending loads of time with some of my closest girlfriends and enjoying lots of LA hotspots, even squeezing in some visits to the set of some of her favorite tv shows.  Although I'm enjoying having her here so very much, if you came over to my house you'd never know it was the Holidays, which is strange because I usually go all out for this time of year!

So, if you're like me and the only holiday decorating you've managed to accomplish is that red lip you've been trying to pull off, well never fear, you're not alone!  I've been scouring the web for the past couple of days trying to find some inspiration and of course it's boundless. One of my favorite holiday xmas decos {apart from the obvious real tree} is the sometimes overlooked holiday wreath.  Here are some of my favorites from around the web.
The Well Wishings Wreath
Twig wreath with holiday wishes on small cards
Find a pre made rustic wreath from Michaels or your local craft store and then keep a stack of note cards and markers by your door. What better way to decorate your house than with well wishings from the people you love! Found here.
Eenie Meenie Minie Mo

Why choose one when you can have them all! Love a seasonal wall! Better yet, they're all home made and found here.
Paper Wreath

Made entirely out of doilies and strung with lights, this 'how to' is found here.
We Are One, But We Are Many!

It's no shocker that this one is a favorite of mine and still no shocker that it was found here
Rustic Wreath

Okay I lied, this one might be my favorite. Just love the simple nature of this lil guy. Found here
Recycled Wreath

This one's made entirely out of Coffee Filters! Found here.

How are all of you going with your decorations?!

xx tash

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

unknown wisdom

I'm a forgetful spaz and forgot to reference my sources.. sorry :(

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

cool nights, warm tummies

There's nothing better than having a rich hot chocolate at the end of the end of the day... Wait, I lied, there IS something better than a rich hot chocolate at the end of the day. Home made sweet mint marshmallows melting on top of a rich hot chocolate, at the end of the day :)
recipe here {sans toasted coconut but add 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract}
Sprinkle the bottom of the baking dish with crushed peppermint candies and powdered sugar, add marshmallows and top with another coat of crushed candies and sugar. Let it dry out overnight, cut into squares and redust with powdered sugar.
Make your hot chocolate and add 2, 3, 4 {or more} of your minty masterpieces and watch them slowly melt and create a chocolate minty heaven! The photos really don't do it justice but I'll go so far as to say that this might just change your life. Here's to cool nights and warm sweet tummies!

xo tash


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