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Homemade Hot Coco in the morning is real treat. Not only does it taste sweet, it brings me right back to my childhood.

Hot Coco with a fresh batch of cubed marshmallow toppers (recipe posted yesterday) today, was the perfect beverage to end this cold and wet week. With fresh marshmallow toppers it is impossible to have just one cup. I found myself topping off my marshmallows a few times before I reached the end of the cup! Bellow is the basic Hot Coco recipe that I use when I want to make Hot Coco from scratch, but most of the time I use William Sonoma Hot Chocolate mix and just warm up my milk on the stove.

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As I mentioned in the post yesterday marshmallows keep for weeks, making them a great homemade gift idea. I have come up with two quick options for Hot Chocolate kits, but you can also make smore kits with these delicious treats. I am planning on giving out these mugs/Hot Coco kits to all of Gjelina’s preschool teachers. They are also great to have around the house just in case you need quick gift solutions this Holiday Season. Here is a quick list of super cute mugs that would pair wonderfully with fresh marshmallows and hot chocolate.

Paper Source (Peace/Love/Joy)
Anthropology Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug
West Elm Tiny Heart
Mark and Gram Heart Mug

* William Sonoma Hot Chocolate (premade) packets to add to mugs or to Marshmallow package

All you need is some cute packaging such as red and white twine, gold bells and a snip from the Christmas Tree to create these cute Homemade packaged treats!

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> HOMEMADE: MARSHMALLOWS / December 4, 2014
Written by Posted in Eat + Drink Comments 0

final_2_marshmelloIt has been raining all week, so I decided that I would get a jump-start on cooking some holiday treats.  Let it be known that baking is not my strength in the kitchen.  I have been reading up on homemade treats for the Holidays and marshmallows keep coming to the front of my list.  I also just received my Fine Cooking magazine, which highlighted a marshmallows recipe so I decided to embark on this new cooking adventure.

These fluffy, delicate beauties will amaze you.  I am obsessed with the success from my first batch of homemade marshmallows and I am looking at ways I can incorporate them into other baked goods such as cupcakes with marshmallow frosting, Hot Coco toppers, smores, homemade rocky road ice-cream and caramallows.  They were so much fun to bake and they were finished in less than 30 minutes.  You don’t even have to turn your oven on and they taste like nothing I have ever had and certainly not like a store bought marshmallow.

Marshmallows are fun share with your family and friends and despite their airy consistency, they are surprisingly sturdy, stored in an airtight, dry place they can last up to a month which makes them a great homemade gift idea!

Strawberry Blonded loved helping out with this kitchen fun recipe almost as she liked stealing a taste of the marshmallow fluff before it went into the pan.

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Vanilla Marshmallows

Preparation:

¾ cup of convection sugar

¼ cup of cornstarch

Cooking Spray

Mix together sugar and cornstarch.  This mixture is just for coating the greased pan and the marshmallows.  This will prevent the marshmallow from stick together (coat the bottom, top and side of pan // top of mixture //and used once marshmallows are cut).  Cooking spray is to coat the pan before you add the sugar and to coat the knife when cutting into your marshmallow.

1 box of unflavored gelatin (usually includes four ¼ oz packets of gelatin)

Pre-mix 4 – ¼ oz packets of gelatin with 3/4 cup of water and let sit for at least five minutes.  Do this before you start on your syrup.

Heat:

2 ¾ cups of sugar

¾ cup of light corn syrup

½ cup of water

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Mix all of these ingredients in a 2-3 quart saucepan and put on high heat.  This mixture will start to boil. You will be heating this syrup up to 250 F.

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Combine and Whip:

2 egg whites

2 tbs vanilla

In a mixer or using a hand mixer whip the two egg whites (4-6 mins) on medium speed.  You can start whipping when the syrup reaches 240 F and then when the syrup reaches 250 F slowly add the syrup to the egg whites whipping at medium speed.  Once all syrup is added it is time to start adding the gelatin, which is now hard and lumpy.  You slowly add piece-by-piece of gelatin broken into small lumps.  Once it is all incorporated,  beat the marshmallow at an high speed for another six minutes.  You will notice that the marshmallow is now thick and triple in volume.  Add vanilla.

Pour the marshmallow into your pan and let sit for at least three hours or preferably overnight.  If the sides have been greased and sugared the marshmallow will pop out by cutting the sides and flipping the pan.  Cut the marshmallow as desired and sugar each side to prevent sticking.

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Coming up tomorrow – adding homemade marshmallows to the best Hot Coco receipt and great holiday gift ideas for these treats!

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final_jewerlyJust in time for the Holidays:

New styles and colors of jewelry are up on our Etsy Shop.  Blonded By Style is now selling a limited run of Duzy Necklaces in great fall/winter colors.  These pieces are easy to wear with just about anything.  If you can also purchase directly by email.

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. I snuck away from the family fun to write this quick post because I can’t believe the sales happening online today and through the weekend. Black Friday seems to be the new Cyber Monday and our favorite sites are all partaking…check out the clickable list below!

30% off at Zara for today!

Tier sale up to 25% off at Shopbop through Monday!

25% off at Joie through Monday!

25% off at Current/Elliott today!

20% off All Saints through Monday!

25% off at Madewell through Sunday!

30% off at J.Crew through Sunday!

30% off at 360 Sweater through Monday!

50% off at Gap for today!

25% off site wide on Piperlime.com today and tomorrow!

25% off at Anthropologie today!

25% off at Aliceandolivia.com through Monday!

40% off at Theory.com through Sunday!

Everlane.com has established The Black Friday Fund–donating all profits for the day to their factory partners in Hangzouh, China. All proceeds will go towards updating recreational facilities for the 300 people who live and work at the factory. By purchasing on Black Friday, customers will be able to see their individual contribution….HOW COOL IS THAT?

Look out for a gift guide to come on Monday and another surprise from us!!!!

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I am going to keep this post really brief because I am guessing that everybody is shopping, cooking or traveling today and I just wanted to post one quick side dish for anybody looking for a last minute add to Thanksgiving.  In the winter, I cook brussel sprouts about once a week and this is my favorite way to cook them so that they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  The pancetta adds a smoky flavor and the lemon adds a touch of citrus.  If you need one more dish this Thanksgiving, Pancetta and Brussel Sprouts  are a great addition to the Thanksgiving feast.

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Off to the kitchen to finish brining the turkey …. everybody have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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I have a quick sec before I head home for Thanksgiving and wanted to share some thoughts…

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday after my birthday, Christmas and Valentines day (well I like them all)! I get so excited at the actual Thanksgiving feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and the gravy all mushed together on my plate. Even better is my Mom’s leftover turkey sandwich the day after, but enough about the food because more importantly I am looking forward to the time I get to spend with my family and friends! What are you looking forward to and thankful for this year?

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I also wanted to share that I came across this brand called re:named that is affordable and cute on Shopbop.com. I had my eye on some great pieces over the Summer, but never pulled the trigger. A couple weeks ago I came across this fun dress that I will be wearing to Thanksgiving dinner! I paired it with some simple black tights and gold buckle LR booties.

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Re:Named Plaid Long Sleeve Dress: $68! // Loeffler Randall Fenton Rain Boots // Vince Leather Sleeve Shawl Collar  Coat: on sale! // Agate Drop Necklace from Blondedbystyle on Etsy // Spanx Tight End Tights // Men’s Louis Vuitton Small Travel Bag //

IMG_2622….I hope everyone enjoys Thanksgiving…we have so much to be thankful of this time of year!

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Setting the table for Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Sharing a Thanksgiving meal is a family tradition and for me setting the table is like setting the stage for a great meal and conversation.  This year, I was inspired to use my left over Halloween pumpkins and a quick trip to the flowermart provided some directional color scheming.  I matched the color of the pumpkins to a pop of orange in some freshly picked persimmons.  I dropped in some gold leafing for a touch of elegance and anchored the table with white pillar candles and white napkins.

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With two kids this year, I was looking for shortcuts when it came to a table setting.  After  years of dry-cleaning my placemats, I discovered paper placemats and I instantly became a fan.  I use them both for the everyday dinning and special occasions.  Featured on the table (above) are Confetti Paper Placemats.  You can even customize them though the Paper Source for events such as birthday parties or weddings.  There are so many different paper placemat options on the market now and they are great for kids who like to color!  I keep a few different designs in my linen drawer for all occasions and the best part of using them  – the end of the night they go in the recycling.

I love using persimmons when they are in season on my table for a beautiful  pop of orange.  Costco has them at a great price in bulk and they are found just about everywhere right now.  They make for a great addition to a cheese plate if you get a few extra.   I picked up some gold leaf trim for an added sparkle on-top of mini pumpkin centerpieces at the flowermart.  You can also spray paint some gold leaf if you want to have a quick crafty solution for some added gold.

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DIY Mini Pumpkin Center Pieces:

What you will need:  3-5 small pumpkins (purchased at the grocery store) // Mellon ball scooper (remove the seeds) // Oasis // Three different types of flowers trimmed with a 4” stem //

Steps for assembly (10 minutes): Cut the top off the tops of the pumpkins and remove seeds with melon baller.  Cut oasis to fit inside pumpkin and then soak in water.  Clean flowers and leave 4” stem.  Assemble by sticking flowers in oasis inside pumpkin.  Try to cover all sides so that  the flowers are spilling outside the pumpkin.

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I could not resist making a flower crown for Strawberry Blonded with the left over flowers.  I can hear the bells from the kitchen as she runs  down the hall wearing her crown no doubt ruling her kingdom.

From my table to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!

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Today, we headed out on another city adventure.  We had some old bread and I took the kids out to the waters edge to feed the birds.  The cold has settled in as we turn towards the winter months and as most of the county is getting a layer of snow, it is now acceptable in San Francisco to wear a knit hat and a extra warm sweatshirt.  As we walked to the edge of the water in search of the right place to feed the birds, we stumbled on old VW Bus, granite pillars and a sandstone ramp.  Each of these objects provided entertainment and exploration for Strawberry Blonded and added to the excitement of the adventure.

Location:  The end of Yacht Road pass the St. Francis Yacht Club off Marina Greens 

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Sweatshirts are the new trend and I have been stocking up for the entire family. I saw this sweatshirt at Crewcuts and it made me laugh and feel really old.  Luckily, I could still translate this shorthand (cheat sheet at the end of the post), but it did make me think about the future of language and technology and how it will effect my kids. The OMG sweatshirt paired with Strawberry Blonded’s  new wax coated jeans.  As an added bonus wax coated denim are really warm for the winter months and Strawberry Blonded likes the fact that they were a bit “shinny”.  Her hat is her new favorite hat and is fleece lined, I am really hoping that we don’t loose this one and scarf was a gift from a great online boutique called Persnickety.  The tag caught my attention because they donate a part of each purchase to a child in need.

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Hat:  GAP Cable Knit Pom-Pom // Scarf:  Persenickety Eternity Scarf //Sweatshirt:  Crewcuts OMG Sweatshirt   //Jeans:  GAP Waxed Coated //Shoes: Glitter Ballet Flats

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Just in case you need a bit of translation on the sweatshirt there is the quick guide:

OMG = Oh My God // LOL = Laugh Out Loud // XO = Hugs and Kisses // BFF = Best Friend Forever // BRB = Be Right Back //  NP = No Problem // IDK = I Don’t Know // YOLO = You Only Live Once // TTLY = Talk To You Later // :) = Happy Face

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> SAGE SOURDOUGH STUFFING / November 19, 2014
Written by Posted in Eat + Drink Comments 1

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Thanksgiving is just over a week away and my kitchen has turned into a test kitchen for the perfect side dishes this Thanksgiving.  With two kids, I need fast and easy receipts without sacrificing flavor and goodness.  Truth be told, my mom was always in charge of the stuffing and it was not my favorite dish at Thanksgiving.  First I am not a huge celery fan and second she added nuts.  That being said I am a huge sourdough lover and so when we came across this bag of sourdough stuffing at Costco, I had to bring it home and test it out.  To my delight the receipt on the back was easy and simple and delicious.   I added my own topper (cranberries and pinenuts) to mix it up a bit and add a touch of color.   Not only will I be cooking this stuffing for Thanksgiving, I will be gifting this bag of Boudin San Francisco to all my friends this Thanksgiving.

stuffingNote that this bag of Boudin Sourdough Stuffing is only available at Costco for a short selling season!

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On this messy hair, really care kind of day I found myself wearing this lushicious Zara Cape in an old forest. I should have been delivering apples with Little Red Riding hood! The fur lined hood on the cape is amazingly soft and the amount of material on the cape is endless. That’s what so different and fun about capes this season. They are essentially an oversized layer friendly jacket or sweater statement piece!

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I actually wore a cozy jumpsuit under a sweater and the cape over that, so I was ready to weather any storm on this chilly Fall day.

Zara Hooded Checked Wool Cape // Theory Jaidyn Boucle Sweater // Joie Attilia Jumper // Rag-and Bone go-to Harrow Booties // Necklace made by Zoe sold on blondedbystyle Etsy shop //

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Why not go bold with your capes and ponchos this season and have fun with it!? My favorite (with no surprise!) are from Zara here, here, here, and here. Most of them have bold prints, lots of material and oversized hoods, which are fun additions to an outfit for cold weather dressing. If you looking for a more conservative look stay with a solid color like the Whimbrel Cape from Anthropology. If you can’t fully commit, but want to play around with the cape idea, I love these 2-in-1 Cape Scarfs from Madewell.

IMG_2376…these pictures were taking in the Presidio in San Francisco.

 

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