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Monday, December 13, 2010

Cool Pink Gift Baskets

Since the holidays are here, I've been asked by friends, business associates, and family to create and sell some gift baskets that they can take to Christmas parties or give as gifts. So I've decided to do just that:) Until January 5, I'll be putting together personalized gift baskets based on the recipient's favorite things, or the nature of the party you'll be attending. You can send your request for a basket to the blog (or respond to an FB or Twitter post) and I will either: 1) give you step-by-step instructions on which items to include in the basket, right down to colors and fabrics; or 2) make the basket for you (I've done some research to make them reasonably priced) and have it shipped to your address:) Until then, deck the halls with dusty rose and pistachio--they look great together, and make the Christmas tree much more noticeable! Stay cool--and pink;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cool Pink in the Red: Holiday Desserts

Cool Pink is going red--red velvet, that is. Red velvet cake is pretty popular this season, but of course, I've been playing around with some variations of this tasty dessert to make the holidays especially memorable. So here's my version of red velvet creme brulee--with coconut praline chips:) For this recipe, you'll need:

heavy cream (or soy cream)
cocoa powder
red food coloring
cinnamon extract
real vanilla extract
egg yolks--about 10 or 11 (or egg replacer)
unsweetened chocolate

Place the sugar, cream, extracts and food coloring in a saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a light bubble, add the cocoa powder and about a bar of unsweetened chocolate.

Place the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Start whisking the yolks and slowly add the cream mixture to the bowl. Strain the mixture and pour it into individual ramekins, or use a large ceramic casserole dish (but personally, i like the individual ramekins better;))Place the ramekins in a large baking pan and fill the baking pan so that the water comes halfway to the side of the ramekin. Bake the creme brulee until it's firm in the center--about 20 minutes. Remove the creme brulee and let it cool completely--then put it in the fridge for at least two hours (i know, i know. but trust me, it's necessary). Then dust the top of the brulee with sugar, and use a handheld propane torch to give the dessert its golden brown crust.

For the coconut pralines, you'll need:

sweetened shredded coconut
powdered sugar
dark Karo syrup
finely chopped pecans or almonds
condensed milk (or the soy alternative)

Combine the syrup, sugar and milk in a saucepan and bring it to a low boil. Cook the mixture to the soil boil stage--you'll know it's ready when you can drop a small piece of the sugar mixture into cold water and it forms a small ball ;) Stir the mixture to make it creamier, then add the coconut. Allow the mixture to cool before forming it into teaspoon-sized discs. Place the discs on buttered parchment paper and store them in a Rubbermaid container until you're ready to decorate your creme brulee plate with them.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What to Wear to Thanksgiving Dinner

Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, or have been invited to dinner with friends and loved ones, it's important to come to the 'table' in style (after all, it's the Cool Pink way;))Here are some outfit must-haves for your Thanksgiving celebration.

Blazer. A blazer is a classy way to cover up any unsightly bulges that you're likely to acquire after that third helping of garlic mashed potatoes (it happens to the best of us). Blazers give shape to your torso, and a blazer that is slightly loose makes it easy for you to keep the jacket buttoned while--and after--eating. It's also a great idea to choose a blazer with tails or a sequined collar so that the focus is on your impeccable style--and not your midriff.

Flat shoes. A pair of flats or flat boots makes your Thanksgiving outfit chic and relaxed without looking too casual--it may be a holiday, but you still have heads to turn;). If you're wearing skinny jeans (make sure they have some give) a tall, flat blot in a neutral color like gray or tan will free you up to wear a brightly colored top without being too flashy. If you've opted for boot-cut jeans or pants with a looser fit, flat shoes with a metal or flower embellishment on the front adds a festive touch to your look.

Accessories. Gold and bronze accessories are perfect for the fall season, and will keep you looking your best in holiday pictures. If you're donning a large wrap-around sweater for Thanksgiving dinner (another rather forgiving piece of clothing), large gold earrings will keep the outfit from looking too frumpy. Or, a fitted blazer with rolled up sleeves will show off your bronze bangels nicely.

When you look good, you feel good--and you think twice about gorging yourself with sweet potato pie. Maybe. Have a Cool Pink Thanksgiving! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Bazaar Collection: The Etiquette Post

The Bazaar Collection: The Etiquette Post: "I was going through my favorite videos on YouTube and I came across a classic scene from the early days of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'. It..."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie Accents

OK, so chances are you you know how to make your sweet potato pie filling with your eyes closed by now. But even if you're making the pie for the first time this Thanksgiving, you can impress all your guests with these scrumptious toppings that are sure to get lots of oohs and aahs:)

Candied Nuts

Mix butter, vanilla and hazelnut extracts, brown sugar, powdered sugar, a bit of heavy whipping cream (or the soy alternative), butterscotch, and cinnamon together in a small saucepan. Fold in pieces of your favorite nuts; pecans taste great with sweet potato pie, put almonds or macadamia nuts are a tasty addition as well.

Caramel Topping

Molasses (or dark Karo syrup), along with brown sugar and heavy whipping cream are the main ingredients of a caramel topping; melt these items in a small pot on the stove until the consistency is thick and gooey. Add a few morsels of unsweetened chocolate and butter for a savory taste. You can pour this topping over your sweet potato pie, or swirl it into the filling when the pie is halfway done baking.

Coconut Topping

A slightly sweet but flavorful addition to your sweet potato pie is coconut. To thicken the topping, add a little rice flower to shredded, sweetened coconut, along with a pinch of sea salt, fresh cinnamon, and melted butter. The topping is crumbly, and makes for a great contrast of texture against the smooth pie filling.

*You can also sprinkle some coconut flakes or teaspoons of fresh nutmeg into the pie crust for an extra burst of flavor--Enjoy! ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Autumn Sandwich Recipe Variations

Since Thanksgiving is coming up soon, you probably don't want to make a lot of large meals until the big day--and you'll need some creative things to do with leftovers, too;) So here are a few sandwich ideas that you can enjoy before--or after--Turkey Day:)

First, you'll need some sandwich 'binders'--you know, something to spread on the bread besides those processed condiments like mustard and mayonnaise (yuck). i recommend a cranberry relish or almond hummus. For the relish, you'll need:

whole or jellied cranberries
plum pieces

* you can also add a little olive oil and fresh herbs like thyme or marjoram to give the relish a more savory taste ;)

for the almond hummus, you'll need:

raw almonds (organic is best)
olive oil
sea salt

--the ingredients for both recipes should be combined in a food processor to get the right consistency, but a blender works well in most cases, too.

Chances are you already have roasted or deep-fried turkey on hand, so just carve that up to put on the sandwich. Sautee the turkey pieces in a mixture of butter, fresh oregano, cayenne pepper, and lime juice before placing it on the sandwich. You can also use thin chicken breast prepared in the same way. Or, dredge the chicken in a light flour like potato or rice flower and sautee for a few minutes before adding the butter mixture.

Ciabatta or French bread is best for these sandwiches; toast the bread lightly before placing the meat and relish or hummus in between--but don't toast it for too long or you'll end up with croutons.:)Sprinkle the bread with a Parmesan and Romano cheese mixture onto the bread and add your turkey or chicken (or both lol) with the relish or hummus (or, you know, both) and enjoy! More side dish ideas coming up ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Candy Cane Cupcakes

A number of holiday-themed desserts feature peppermint flavor, but few sweet treats yield the taste of an actual candy cane. So, here's my take on a candy cane cupcake that is great for Christmas bake sales and holiday parties that will remind you of those freakishly sugary candy canes in your grandma's holiday candy dish--in a good way:)this recipe is really easy, and doesn't include any of the 'filler' flavors that take away from the candy cane taste:)

For this recipe, you'll need:

white cake mix (or a homemade batter of cake flour, sugar, 2 or 3 eggs, buttermilk or cultured soy milk, a little pure vanilla extract, salt, butter and baking powder). sorry, i don't measure, so just mix all that around until the consistency is right :)

pure almond extract
red food coloring
peppermint extract
powdered sugar
mini candy canes

-Once you've mixed the cake batter together, take half of it out and put it in a separate bowl. Dye the batter in one of the bowls red--add as much food coloring as you want to achieve the hue of the deep red stripes in candy canes. Get out your cupcake pans and grease each section of the pan, or add cupcake liners. Now, you may find this part tedious, but it's a good idea to fill one cupcake section with red batter, and a drop or two of the 'white' cake batter. Then, use a toothpick or small fork to swirl the two colors around. For the next cupcake, add the white cake batter first, and then a spoonful of the red batter and mix it around. The patterns are really pretty and look impressive when people bite into the cupcake;)

-Place the cupcakes in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. While the cakes are baking, it's time to make the icing. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk or soy milk, and peppermint and almond extract. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients. If you want you can add a splash of lemon juice--it makes the peppermint flavor stand out more. you can also add green food coloring if you want to create a contrast between the red and white of the cupcake.

-After taking the cupcakes out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before icing them. After you've iced each cupcake, you can crush some mini candy canes and sprinkle them on top of the desserts. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Right Nude Shoes for Fall

OK, so I've been posting lots of recipes lately (and there's so much more to come ;)) but the ladies need to know how to wear these nude shoes this fall, since clearly the trend is here to stay. Which is great--if you know which nude looks good on you. So, here's a quick tip list that will keep you looking your best in a classy nude pump this fall (or winter).

Fair-skinned women: You'll likely look best in a shoe that is a true tan, and has light blue undertones. You can tell the undertones of the shoe by trying it on and seeing if the veins in your feet are more noticeable or subdued. If the veins don't stand out, the color is probably right. Wear nude shoes with a sheer stocking (NOT BLACK)to make your legs look longer ;)

Olive-toned women: Women with olive skin can really pull of a nude shoe that has red accents, i.e. red siding or bottoms--think light or medium brown, or a red-brown in a leather or suede material. Again, it's best to wear tights or stockings that are close to your normal skin color.

'True' brown women: If your skin is the color of honey, cinnamon, or toast right when it should be taken from the toaster, choose a nude shoe that is as close to your skin color as possible. You can also pull off a nude-hued heel with some texture to it, i.e. suede or lace. You know the deal with the tights:) But, textured tights work well for you as well--think argyle or stripes.

Dark skinned women: OK girls, you can do a few things with the nude shoe. A creamy-colored shoe, in the same color scheme as what fair-skinned women would wear looks great on you, or you can wear an olive-toned shoe if you have red undertones. A thick tight (or some skinnies) will help to pull the look off;)

Send me your nude shoe pics, and I'll be happy to feature them--especially if you did it right! lol ;)

Monday, November 1, 2010

5 Spice Candied Apples

Candied apples are a treat that you can enjoy any time of year, but somehow, they taste just a little better in the fall. If you enjoyed candied apples as a kid, these recipe variations will offer you some sophisticated flavors that will make this sugar-cased fruit stand out :) For this recipe, you'll need:

-white chocolate morsels (you can substitute caramel or peanut butter morsels, or mix all three together--they all taste great with the rest of the ingredients ;))
-finely chopped almonds or macadamia nuts
-rum flavoring
-lemon flavoring
-vanilla flavoring
-licorice flavoring
-fresh cinnamon
-fresh nutmeg
-fresh ginger
-fresh anise
-splash of milk (or soy or almond milk)
-golden delicious, Granny Smith, or red delicious apples (depending on how sweet or sour you like your apples)

melt the white chocolate morsels (and/or other flavors) over the stove or in the microwave--be careful not to let the morsels get too sticky or dry. Add a dash of milk to the mixture to make it extra creamy. add all the flavorings to taste--you'll have to keep tasting the mixture to make sure it's right. ;) Grind the cinnamon and nutmeg (you can use a zester or cheese grater) as well as a few pieces of finely grated ginger. Add these to the mixture, along with a dash of allspice.

soak the finely chopped nuts in a mixture of all the flavorings you've used (you can use Frangelico or Kahlua as well). Let them 'marinate while you cover the apples with the white chocolate mixture. Then roll the apples in the nuts and place the apples in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let them set. You can also cut the apples into slices and dip them halfway in the white chocolate or nuts for a great party dish that looks pretty impressive :). Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Butternut Squash Pasta

Pasta is often a go-to dish for lots of cooks, especially during the fall season where we could all use some hearty comfort food that will stick to our ribs. This recipe for bowtie pasta with a butternut squash sauce goes will with the seafood of your choice, but of course, it makes a great vegetarian meal as well. For this dish, you'll need:

Farfalle pasta
pureed butternut squash
cream cheese or vegan sour cream
fresh sage
fresh parsley
fresh marjoram
butter or vegan margarine
olive oil
garlic cloves
dried cranberries
pine nuts
*Seafood (tilapia, shrimp, salmon)

-Sautee the shallots, garlic cloves, butter, and olive oil in a saucepan. When the garlic has cooked down some, add the fresh herbs. Mix the pureed squash and cream cheese together, and add this mixture to the herbs, shallots, and garlic (add a few tablespoons of vegetable or seafood stock if you want the sauce thinner). Allow the sauce to simmer for about ten minutes, then add cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried cranberries (dates work well, too). if possible, purchase fresh cinnamon and nutmeg, but if you can't, the dried variety tastes great as well.:)Sprinkle some pine nuts on top of the pasta dish once you've plated it, or roll them around in some olive oil and cinnamon first.

*While the sauce is cooking, boil the pasta--add sea salt and olive oil to the water to give the pasta a little taste. This is also a good time to cook the seafood you want with your pasta dish. Sautee a few slices of tilapia in olive oil and fresh herbs, and add a slice or two of zucchini for added color and taste. The same cooking method will work well no matter which seafood you choose. :)Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

I love cooking in the fall! This pumpkin recipe is ideal for dinner parties, and you can make this with your kids too:) it's stuffed mini pumpkins--one savory recipe, and one sweet:) Here's what you'll need:

mini pumpkins (I prefer the organic variety)
ground turkey, beef, or TVP (textured vegetable protein)
pureed squash
butter (or vegan margarine)
white pepper
fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
brown rice
sea salt
half an apple (Granny Smith, as red as you can find:))

Start by cutting off the top of the pumpkin and getting all the seeds and meat out. Save the parts of the meat you want to use for the filling:) Rinse the pumpkin thoroughly, and make sure it's hollow enough for all the good stuff to fit inside.

Melt some butter in a large saucepan and throw in some chopped shallots, along with the chopped Granny Smith apple. Add a few sprigs of fresh herbs, sea salt, turmeric, and white pepper to taste. Add the ground meat of your choice, along with a few shakes of allspice. Mix in the pureed squash (if you want, you can mix in some heavy cream or vegan cream cheese into the squash before adding it to the meat mixture). Stir in the chunks of pumpkin and cover the mixture so that it will cook thoroughly--about 15 minutes should do it:)
Boil about a cup of instant brown rice in a separate pot, and flavor with sea salt and white pepper.

After the 'stuffing' and the rice have cooked thoroughly, pour a few heaping spoonfuls into each pumpkin 'bowl', and garnish with fresh herbs. You can serve the meal with your choice of a creamy or warm fall beverage--stay tuned for upcoming blogs to get recipe ideas! Enjoy:)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spiced Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Ok, here's another fall recipe that I'm sure everyone will LOVE. Spiced apple oatmeal cookies are one of the best treats of the season, and you can even make them with Equal or agave nectar if you want to cut down on the sugar content :) You'll need:

Brown Sugar
Equal or agave nectar
about one a half sticks of butter (or soy butter for a vegan cookie)
1 egg (or Ener-G egg replacer equivalent of one egg)
milk (soy or almond milk works, too)
sea salt
uncooked oats
dried apples
almond extract
maple extract
vanilla bean

melt the butter, and add the applesauce and sugar to taste(just make sure it's not extremely soupy). Mix all the spices together along with the two extracts to form a pasty consistency. Add the spices and extract to the butter and applesauce. Use just a splash or sea salt (just a splash! sea salt is more potent than table sauce). Pour the milk and egg into the mixture--make sure the batter is not too thin, and add milk as necessary, so that when the oats are added, you can easily spoon out a cookie. Fold the oats into the applesauce mixture, and add some bits of dried apple to the cookie dough.

Spoon the cookies out onto a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. While the cookies are baking, make some icing from sweet apple cider, powdered sugar, and lime juice. Mix the ingredients together so that the icing is thin enough to drizzle on the cookies. Sprinkle a little allspice on each cookie after adding the icing, and get read to eat every cookie on the sheet, 'cause they're sooooooo good! :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tasty Fall Recipes

Autumn is the perfect time to try some new recipes, since the weather is cool enough for a comforting bowl of soup, but still warm enough for the chilled or frozen desserts (on a good day, anyway). Here are a few delicious dinners you can try during the season that will help to create new fall memories for you and your fam. Oh, and since I'm not one for measuring when cook, just follow the general directions to achieve the right taste--but add more or less of your favorite ingredients as you see fit;) Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cream Soup


mashed or pureed pumpkin
heavy whipping cream (or the soy version if you're vegan)
sour cream (or the vegan version)
turkey bacon (again, the veggie version of this is just as good)
lemon juice
cocoa powder

For this light but filling soup, you'll need to start buy sauteeing a copped medium onion in a few tablespoons of butter. Peel and slice two or three large Idaho potatoes, and place them in the pan with the onions and butter. Add some chicken or vegetable broth to the mix, along with the pumpkin. At this point, you can transfer to the soup to a pot, or leave the mixture in the pan if it's deep enough. Cook until the potatoes have softened, then turn the heat down slightly and add the cream until the soup is at your desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste--I recommend a little white pepper and cumin as well:) Cook the soup for about twenty minutes, then remove it from the heat to make it thicker. While the soup is cooling, sautee a few pieces of bacon. After the soup has cooled, transfer it to your favorite bowl (trust me, that makes it taste better lol). For the topping, mix sour cream with a little lemon juice, a splash of cocoa powder (you can add a little of this to the soup as well for a richer taste), and nutmeg, and place a dollop of the mixture on top of the soup along with a few sprigs of parsley. Break the crispy bacon pieces over the sour cream, and enjoy the pumpkin soup with a salad or whole wheat focaccia.:)