Sprinkles Installs 24-Hour Cupcake ATM + Ice Cream Shop

I've died and gone to heaven. Except, in this case, heaven is located at 9635 Santa Monica Boulevard, where the original Sprinkles cupcakery has installed a pink 24-HOUR CUPCAKE ATM. A cupcake dispensary, if you will, filled with magic and joy and rainbows. Maybe not, but it's close. Sprinkles tells LAist that the "automatic cupcake machine dispenses freshly baked cupcakes, cupcake mixes, apparel and even cupcakes for Fido... 24 Hour Sprinkles will be continuously restocked day and night with a variety of freshly baked cupcake flavors." I'm already having delusions of cupcake grandeur just knowing my favorite Chocolate(x)3 cupcake -- that's a chocolate cupcake with dark chocolate frosting and chocolate jimmies -- can be mine anytime I want. Some might say it's dangerous or irresponsible. I say Candace Nelson has hit the next level of cupcake genius.

Sprinkles 24-Hour Cupcake ATM + Sprinkles Ice Cream
Photo: Sprinkles. Photoshop: PardonMyCrumbs

The only thing that could make this whole cupcake situation better would be if Sprinkles sold its own ice cream. Oh wait, Sprinkles Ice Cream IS OPENING NEXT DOOR! Here's the scoop (pun intended) from Sprinkles via LAist: "Sprinkles Ice Cream will be hand-crafted American ice cream using only the finest ingredients, staying in line with the Sprinkles philosophy. Scooped into crisp waffle cones, pressed between fluffy cupcake tops or piled high into sundaes topped with housemade sauces and toppings, Sprinkles Ice Cream shop is a back to basics creamery with a Sprinkles twist! Sprinkles Ice Cream will also serve up freshly baked cookies and brownies." 

No launch date has been announced, but I can't imagine it's far off. In the meantime, wipe up your drool. You're embarrassing yourself.

Sprinkles Cupcakes, 24-Hour Automat + Sprinkles Ice Cream
9635 Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
24 Hour Sprinkles Facebook
Sprinkles Ice Cream Facebook


Recipe: Savory Oatmeal Cookies with Parmesan, Rosemary & Cracked Black Peppercorn

Savory Oatmeal Cookies
Photo: TheKitchn.com
Take a look at the photo to the right. No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. Those are savory oatmeal cookies shmeared with blue cheese. I understand some of you might be thinking, "That sounds pretty weird." 

Just hear me out.

Peanut butter and chocolate. Sea salt and caramel. Olive oil ice cream. These are age-old and new-age flavor combinations incorporating both the sweet and savory. Well, these oatmeal cookies from TheKitchn.com (one of my go-to foodie sites) employ that same classic tactic; melding together flavors of rosemary, cracked black peppercorn, nutty Parmesan, caramel-y brown sugar, and a few flakes of melt-on-your-tongue Fleur de Sel. An instant addition to the appetizer tray, if you ask me.

The cookies are dense, exhibiting a chunky factor found in traditional "dessert" oatmeal cookies. But forget about dunking them in milk. Instead, find a slab of your favorite spreadable cheese -- I'd go with an unbeatable Point Reyes blue or a gooey triple crème brie -- and give that cookie a big ole' shmear. One bite and your idea of the perfect "cookie" will be forever changed.

Savory Oatmeal Cookies with Parmesan, Rosemary and Cracked Black Peppercorn
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies
Adapted from TheKitchn

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup sifted unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Flakey sea salt such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel

Make the Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the oats in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the water over them. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, brown sugar and egg. Pour this mixture over the oats, stir to combine, and set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, fine sea salt, baking soda, rosemary, and black pepper. Whisk to combine well. Stir in the Parmesan. Gradually sprinkle the flour mixture over the oat mixture, stirring until combined. Form 1 tablespoon size scoops of batter and place, evenly spaced on a parchment paper or baking mat-lined cookie sheet. Flatten each piece of dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Use your hands to form an even disk. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of each. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are slightly darkened. Remove to a cooling rack. Serve alone or with a soft cheese, e.g. Point Reyes blue cheese or a triple crème like Saint Andre.


Edible Oscars: Best Picture-Themed Hot Dogs

The Oscar Mayer Wiener award goes to...
Oscar Sunday is finally here! What better way to celebrate the iconic Academy Awards than with an Oscar Mayer wiener-themed tribute to the Best Picture nominees? Blogger Will Levitt from The Dorm Room Dinner did just that, creating unique hot dogs inspired by the nine films up for the top award.

Which one gets your vote? I'm torn between The Help's fried chicken sausage/collard greens/gravy combo and Midnight In Paris' pâté/pork sausage/frisée/creamy Dijon vinaigrette on baguette...

 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: "The NYC Dog"
Hot Dog with Mustard and Sauerkraut on a Bun

Hugo: "The Watch-Dog" 
Hot dog wrist band with clock face of toasted bread, mayonnaise, rosemary ticks and ketchup arms.

Midnight in Paris: "The Parisian Dog"
Pâté, Pork Sausage, Frisée, Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette on Baguette

Moneyball: "The Baseball Dog" 
Hot Dog with Ketchup on a Bun

The Artist: "The Old-Time Hollywood Dog" 
A Black and White Hot Dog

The Descendants: "The Hawaii Dog"
Hot Dog, Grilled Pineapple and Sriracha on a Bun

The Help: "The Southern Comfort Dog"
Fried Chicken Sausage, Collard Greens, Gravy on a Buttered Bun

Tree of Life: "Tree in Summer Dog"
Hot Dog Tree of Spinach on a Bun with Mayonnaise

War Horse: "The Bruised and Bleeding Dog"
Scored Hot Dog Bleeding Ketchup on a Bun


McGriddle Gone Crazy: Waffle Sliders at The Six Restaurant

The Six Restaurant's Waffle Slider 
Photo: Ian W. on Yelp
Do yourself a favor this weekend: Go to The Six Restaurant in West LA and get the waffle sliders ($9). Think piping hot Belgian waffles -- crisp on the outside but still-steaming inside -- sandwiching a sausage patty, fried egg, melted cheddar cheese and Debecca Farm's thick-cut bacon. Oh, there's warm maple syrup on the side, just for kicks. It's like a McGriddle on crack, and I mean in that the best, most delicious way possible.

These not-so-little waffle sliders take your taste buds on a crunchy, creamy, sweet, savory, oooey-gooey roller-coaster... except you step away from this loop-di-loop walking on waffle-scented air. Wash them down with bottomless Mimosa's and Bloody Mary's, all for $10. 

If you happen to fall into a waffle slider-induced coma at your table and awaken just in time for dinner, why not continue the slider-theme? Go for the turkey Sloppy Joe sliders topped with portobello, red bell pepper and fried house-made pickles ($13). 

10668 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Online reservations available via Open Table


Happy National Margarita Day + Spicy Jalapeño Margarita Recipe

Jalapeño Margarita at Hollywood's Loteria Grill
Let me start with this: Our idea of "National Food Days" has gotten out of control. Case in point: There's "Something on a Stick Day" (March 28), "Lima Bean Respect Day" (April 20), and even "TV Dinner Day" (September 10).

Whatever happened to days that brought attention to national favorites like pizza, S'mores and apple pie? It's in that spirit that I'd like to go back-to-basics and celebrate an (inter)national past-time: The classic Margarita.

For most of the country, February might not be the ideal time to enjoy a frosty beverage. I disagree. Anyone worth their salt(ed rim) knows that high quality tequila is the perfect antidote to freezing temperatures, especially when it's infused with the spicy heat of a jalapeño pepper and topped with a salted chili rim. So forget going out to celebrate National Margarita Day; make my favorite spicy jalapeño margarita recipe and warm up in the comfort of your own home. ¡Salud!

Spicy Jalapeno Margarita
Adapted from Food + Wine Magazine
Makes 6 servings 
  • 1 jalapeño, poked with a knife
  • 1 1/3 cups Silver Herradura or Patron tequila
  • 1 cup Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice (10 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
Make the margarita mix: In a jar, steep the jalapeño and tequila; seal and keep at room temperature for 3 days. Strain the tequila into a large pitcher and discard the jalapeño. Stir in the Grand Marnier, lime juice and sugar.

Salt the rim: When ready to serve, combine the salt with the chili powder in a shallow dish. In a second small plate, pour a tiny amount of the margarita mix. Gently dip the rims of 6 glasses in the margarita liquid, then immediately dip in the salt and chili mixture. Fill six glasses with ice and divide the margarita mix equally between them. Serve and enjoy!


Test Kitchen's Back! One Night, Five Chefs, Four Mixologists = Serious Burgers + Cocktails

On the Regular Menu: Nancy Silverton's Backyard Burger + Spuds
Mark your calendar and make a reservation, stat! This Saturday, from 9pm - 1am, Test Kitchen is back, hosting its long-awaited return at Nancy Silverton and the late Amy Pressman's burger joint, Short Order. Gourmet burger lovers will get their palates satiated by five signature burgers and sides made by host Chef Christian Page (Short Order) and guest Chefs and Test Kitchen alums Walter Manzke, Kris Morningstar (Ray's & Stark Bar), Ori Menashe (Bestia) and Adam Horton (Raphael).

Guest mixologists joining cocktailian legend Julian Cox (Rivera, Playa, Sotto, Picca) behind the bar include Daniel Warrilow (Son of a Gun), Paul Sanguinetti (Ray's & Stark Bar) and Chris Parke (Raphael). As burger nights go, it simply doesn't get better than that.

Each guest chef will create their own signature burger (from $14-$18) and array of side dishes (from $5-12) while the mixologists will whip, shake and strain cocktails to match. Here's what's on the menu so far:

Chef #1: Kris Morningstar
Burger:  Flavor Burger #6 -- beef, house made mortadella bites, moroccan beets with spiced pistachio crunch and yogurt and mint
Special Sides: TBD

Chef #2: Walter Manzke 
Burger: Vietnamese Pork Burger -- pickled radish, spicy sauce
Special Sides: Taleggio Cheese Beignets, honey aioli + Vegetable Crudites, anchovy and herb dip

Chef #3: Adam Horton 
Burger: Korean BBQ Burger -- flavors of galbi, kimchi aioli
Special Sides: Quinoa Croquettes, remoulade + Som Tam Slaw, kohlrabi, jicama and market vegetables

Chef #4: Ori Menashe 
Burger: The Italian -- aged beef, porcini mustard, parmesan aioli, wild arugula, crispy pancetta, oven dried tomato
Special Sides: Crispy Polenta Fries

Host + Chef #5: Christian Page
Burger: "Filet o' Fish" --  sand dab, tartar sauce, American cheese
Special Sides: LA Dog + Scotch Egg + Spuds "Poutine"

There's one catch: Rumor has it official reservations are sold out, but Short Order is taking back-ups in case of cancellations. To get on the list, emailtestkitchen@shortorderla.com with your requested reservation time, contact name, phone number and number in your party. Walk-ins are welcome, but you're not guaranteed a table. No big deal, right? As long as you get a burger, who cares where you sit?

Short Order 
The Original Farmers Market 
6333 W Third Street / Stall #110
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Buffalo Chicken Dip: Be Careful, It's Addictive!

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Photo: Campbell's Kitchen)
I have a confession: I don't like chicken wings. I know, I can't believe it either. I feel a little better now that I've shared it with you, though.

Try as I might over the years, those little wings and I haven't found a common ground. Sure, they're delicious, but (in my minority opinion) they're far too much work for barely any chicken. If they were less "wings" and more "ribs," I'd be all over them. But I digress... What I DO love about chicken wings is the taste of tangy, spicy buffalo sauce the cool crunch of celery and rich, creamy blue cheese dip. Surely there must be a way to combine those without the labor intensity of gnawing on a mini-wing?

Meet Buffalo Chicken Dip, a hearty, chunky dip that happily bubbles away in a crock pot. A friend of mine made it for a recent party and it was the talk of the evening. Literally, every person that walked through the door would get accosted with, "Have you tried the buffalo chicken dip? NO??? It's amazing!" It was gone in a flash, but it left a serious imprint on my "must-try" recipe list. So here it is; blue cheese, cream cheese, canned chicken and all. It's hardly gourmet and even less healthy for you, but (in moderation) it's a surefire winner!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Adapted from Campbell's Kitchen
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese or Ranch salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup any flavor Frank's® RedHot® Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cans (12.5 ounces each) White Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
  • Assorted fresh vegetables (celery sticks, baby carrots, etc.) and crackers
Make the dip: Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low until hot and bubbly. Serve with veggies and crackers.


How To Stock A Southern Pantry + The Best Cinnamon Chili Chocolate Ever

Cooking Southern cuisine? Here are must-have pantry items!
"What do you like to cook?" At first glance it's a pretty easy question, asking a casual cook to share which dishes he or she prefers to make most. For me, the answers are pretty typically "anything baked" and "healthy versions of indulgent comfort food." But more often than not, the question is a reminder for me to get out of my cooking comfort zone and dabble in the foods I want to learn to make.

Case in point: Southern cuisine. Shrimp and grits. Collard greens. Moon Pies. Small batch pickles. Now these are the age-old, passed down from generation-to-generation recipes I'd love to try. But where do I to start and, way more importantly, where the heck can I get authentic Southern ingredients?

Bon Appetit Magazine must have been reading my mind. The February issue is solely dedicated to the Southern Recipe Revival, sharing mouth-watering photos and recipes -- think chocolate oatmeal Moon Pies and redeye-glazed pork tenderloin with black-eyed peas -- proving that the South "isn't all fried chicken and biscuits anymore." Recipes aside, the food-minded mag also provides a detailed list on how to stock a Southern Pantry including sources for Dixie staples (e.g. milled grits, sugared pecans, Cackalacky hot sauce) as well as the lesser-known cowpeas, sorghum syrup and small-batch pickles of the region.

Olive and Sinclair's Mexican Style Cinnamon Chili Chocolate
As fate would have it, after reading the pantry article I randomly stumbled across one of the items in Simply Seattle's Chocolate BoxOlive and Sinclair's Southern Artisan Stone Ground Chocolate. The chocolate comes in Buttermilk White, Salt and Pepper, Smoked Nib Brittle and my must-have flavor: Cinnamon Chili Mexican chocolate. At $5.99 for a 2.75 ounce bar it's not exactly the most economical treat, but forget about the price. Seriously. I'm not a huge chocolate fan and I 100% admit I bought it out of sheer curiosity. However, once I bit into a tiny piece of the chocolate, I was undeniably hooked. So were the four friends I (reluctantly) shared it with. Olive and Sinclair's website describes the chocolate as "explosive with floral spices... a granular melt and a steady progression from organic Ceylon cinnamon to deep, salt-driven chocolate with a subtle smoky warmth." Whatever. All I know is it's hands-down fantastic. Get it now from their website.

Olive and Sinclair's Southern Artisan Chocolate
Phone: 615.262.3007


10 Ideas For Ground Turkey: Say Goodbye to the Bland Burger

Believe it or not, I've actually stuck to my New Year's resolution. All three of them. 

#1: To watch more movies with film master Bryan (check!).
#2: To lose a few lbs by drinking less and eating healthier (check!). 
#3: To find creative ways to incorporate healthy food into our diets long-term (almost check?). 

Flipping through the pages of Real Simple Magazine this week, I found an article that seemed written for the Bishop household (and for resolution #3): 10 ideas for ground turkey. Ground turkey is a staple in many of Bryan's and my meals, but it's beyond easy for us to get bored of it. Like really, really bored. "Turkey-burger-three-nights-a-week" bored. So as it often happens in my life, Real Simple came to my turkey dilemma rescue. I liked the creative-yet-simple suggestions so much I couldn't resist sharing them, especially for those who might find themselves in the same "turkey rut." So check out the 10 creative dishes below, complete with recipe links. We can't wait to make the Turkey Chorizo Tacos, Turkey Feta Flatbread and Turkey Fried Rice. If you make any of them, let me know your thoughts!

#1: Pasta with Turkey and Broccoli
Liven up a basic pasta recipe with aromatic fennel seed, garlic, and crushed red pepper.

#2: Turkey Empanadas
Raisins and olives tucked inside give these tasty pastry pockets an unexpected touch of briny sweetness.

#3: Turkey Meat Loaf with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Ground turkey lightens up this comfort-food classic; top with barbecue sauce instead of ketchup if you prefer a smoky flavor.

#4: Turkey Sloppy Joes with Cole Slaw
A mix of tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and Worcestershire ensures the sandwich is juicy and flavorful.

#5: Turkey-Barley Vegetable Soup
Add the spinach just before serving to preserve its bright color and fresh flavor.

#6: Turkey Chorizo Tacos
Chopped spicy Spanish sausage perks up mild ground turkey.

#7: Eggs with Turkey Breakfast Sausage and Fruit
Make your own delicious sausage patties in minutes by combining ground turkey with maple syrup, sage, and thyme.

#8: Turkey Fried Rice
Chock-full of colorful veggies, this dish gets a boost from hoisin sauce and rice vinegar.

#9: Turkey and Feta Flat Bread
Dress up plain pizza dough with browned turkey, roasted red peppers, Feta, and oregano.

#10: Thai Turkey Salad
Crispy, crunchy, sweet, and tart, this salad will surprise you with its range of flavors and textures.


Heart-Shaped Tart Pops: Retro Meets Romance

Pop Tart Hearts on a stick! (Photo: Kitchen Fun)
Last year I made an incredible pop tart recipe from Bon Appetit. The fact that I could make Pop Tarts -- a childhood favorite breakfast item of mine -- from scratch in my own kitchen from organic ingredients, no less... well, it blew my mind.

This Valentine's Day, I'm combining the pop tart with another darling of the dessert world: the Pie Pop. The result? Heart-shaped Tart Pops. They're part-retro, part-romance and guaranteed to impress your husband, wife, mom, dad, coworker... or whomever is lucky enough to be your Valentine. Don't have a Valentine? Who cares! These little stunners will grab the attention of just about anyone who like Pop Tarts and/or pie. As for those who don't... let's not talk about them.

Here's how you make the Tart Pops. For a simpler version, use store-bought pie dough or puff pastry sheets.

Homemade Heart-Shaped Tart Pops
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour plus additional for shaping and rolling
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 12 tablespoons strawberry, blackberry or apricot preserves

Photo: Dine & Dish
Directions: Whisk 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, coarse salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips or back of fork, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls, tossing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half; shape each half into disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.

Photo: Our Best Bites
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on floured surface to about 13x11 inches. Using a 3-inch heart cookie cutter, cut dough into individual hearts. Arrange hearts on the cooking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart.

Spoon 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons of preserves in row down center of each heart. Gently press one popsicle sticks into the bottom on each heart, so that at least one inch will bake inside the pie pop. Top preserves and popsicle stick with a second dough heart. Using fingertips, gently press all edges of each tart to seal; press all edges with tines of fork to double-seal. Using toothpick, poke a few holes in center of top dough heart.
Photo: Our Best Bites

Sprinkle clear, red or pink sanding sugar onto each heart for decoration. Cover; freeze tarts on sheets at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake frozen tarts uncovered until golden, reversing sheets after 15 minutes, 25 to 30 minutes total (some preserves may leak out). Immediately transfer tarts to rack.

Photo: Our Best Bites
Optional gift idea: For Valentine's Day, pipe a white icing border around the heart and fill in your favorite "sweet heart" saying, like "Be Mine," You're Hot" or any other personal greeting. Cover each pop with cellophane, secure with a cute ribbon around the base of the popsicle stick and give to your Valentine!


Sweets For Your Sweet: Classic Fudge Walnut Brownies

Classic Fudge Walnut Brownies (Cooking Light)
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Um, yay? Instead of emptying your wallet at an overpriced and inevitably underwhelming prix fixe restaurant dinner, I've got another idea for you. Why not mix it up, save some dough and spend a quality night in with your significant other and thick, rich, fudgy, walnut brownies?

Better yet, what if the brownies are the #1 winning chocolate recipe from Cooking Light, beating out 15 other indulgent masterpieces such as Texas Sheet Cake, Chocolate Frangelico Fondue, and Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie? They're filled with rich cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate chunks yet each brownie only has 186 calories and 9 grams of fat. But who's counting calories on Valentine's Day? On the contrary, I'd say the brownies topped with some oozy salted caramel sauce sets the stage for a romantic night in, don't you think? Maybe Cooking Light has a recipe for that, too?

Check out the recipe below. They will be so popular that you might want to make two batches, especially if you've got kids hanging around. After Valentine's Day evening, of course.

Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies
Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 3.38 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided
  • Cooking spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate and milk in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla, and eggs. Add milk mixture, 1/2 cup chocolate, and 1/4 cup nuts to flour mixture; stir to combine. Pour the batter into a 9-inch square metal baking pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup nuts. Bake at 350° for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 20 pieces.


The Perfect Ending: Hand-Crafted Blooming Flower Pot Cake

I'm in love. I get a gazillion e-mail newsletters a day from various food companies and PR shops hawking their wares, but here's something that really stood out to me: a potted African violet cake from Napa Valley's Perfect Endings bake shop. Never heard of Perfect Endings? They're one of the premiere bakeries in California's Napa Valley, specializing in uber-creative, life-like edible masterpieces. Their cakes are crazy good and equally crazy expensive, so any occasion to splurge on one at home is worth it. With V-Day right around the corner -- and Easter and Mother's Day hot on its heart-shaped tail -- what better chance to send "flowers" that will really leave an impression? 
Here are the delicious details: The cake's exterior consists of a coffee buttercream "pot" topped with hand-sculpted African Violet blooms (sugar paste is a magical thing) and green fondant icing leaves. Cut into the flower pot and you'll find a velvety-rich, five-layer chocolate devil's food cake with chocolate caramel truffle cream filling. I mean, really? Can't you just imagine taking a bite of decadent devil's food cake, its crumbs held together by rich, caramel cream? Envision it in slo-mo with a sultry bass line ("bow-chick-a-bow-wow!") and you've got yourself a true perfect ending to any meal. 

Perfect Endings Blooming Flower Pot Cake
Shipped frozen from Williams-Sonoma
Cost: $100 
Dimensions: 5 1/2" diameter, 6 1/2" high (serves 4)


Kitty-Liscious: Hello Kitty Airline's In-Flight Meal

EVA Air's Hello Kitty Airline Kids' Meal (Photo: CNNGO)
I don't even know where to start with this. Taiwan-based Eva Air has launched a Hello Kitty-themed aircraft, complete with headrests, pillows, hand soap, moisturizer and even in-flight meals donning the famous cartoon's likeness. The greatest (saddest?) part about the airline is that the Hello Kitty-themed in-flight meals really take the thematic to the next level, with adult meals accessorized with Hello Kitty-stamped butter, carrots and other vegetables.

BUT ... wait for it... the kids' meal is the real superstar of the Eva airshow. Just LOOK at it. Hello Kitty rice patty with pea whiskers and carrot "hair bow," Hello Kitty stamped cantaloupe and honeydew, what appears to be Hello Kitty green tea sorbet, and even Hello Kitty-shaped pasta (available as a specialty item in Duty Free shops) boasting some sort of unidentifiable yet eerily realistic Hello Kitty... cheese? Kids' eraser? Who knows?

All I know is that I would be thrilled to get this meal any day instead of some soggy  sandwich or bag of peanuts. Well done, Eva Air!


Top 5 Surprising Ways to Clean Your House With White Vinegar

Drano, Clorox, Cascade, Windex... the list of expensive, one-use-only kitchen cleaners goes on and on. While they might promise streak-free wine glasses, spotless counter tops and unclogged drains, many of us already own a one-stop-shop wonder product that can do all this and more: White vinegar. It's cheap, available in nearly all grocery and convenience stores, and safe for use around little ones, both of the baby and canine variety. So what are the top 5 most surprising ways to use white vinegar in your kitchen and around your house? Read on and get inspired!

White Vinegar: The Wonder Cleaner
5. Vinegar + Your Laundry
Vinegar helps clean your laundry in two ways. First, spritz mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce and grass stains with a few sprays of white vinegar before your laundry cycle. The vinegar helps break down the stains so they're more easily washed out. Second, vinegar can help clean your entire washing machine, killing mold and mildew and breaking down detergent residue. Run one cup of white vinegar through a laundry cycle (without any clothes) about once a month. A clean machine = clean clothes. (Important note: NEVER combine white vinegar with chlorline bleach. It creates a toxic gas compound that can be deadly.)

4. Vinegar + Your Microwave
If your microwave walls could talk, would it share tales of explosive lasagna, overflowing oatmeal, or splattering soup? Vinegar can silence those walls for good. Put a few teaspoons of vinegar in a small bowl of water and nuke for 2-3 minutes. The vinegar helps loosen any gunk that's stuck to the walls of your microwave. Simply remove the bowl of liquid (careful, it will be hot) and wipe down any excess crud with a sponge.

3. Vinegar + Your Coffee Maker
Even if you make the same brew day-in and day-out, your coffeemaker would still appreciate a thorough cleaning. Fill your coffee maker with a water and vinegar solution (a few tablespoons of vinegar should do the trick) and let the brew run its course. The vinegar will help dissolve any coffee build-up in your machine. Note: Make sure to run fresh water through your machine before brewing your next cup o' Joe.

2. Vinegar + Your Dishwasher
Similar to laundry, vinegar can be used as a substitute to dishwashing liquid to get your dishes and glasses sparkling clean. It can also be used to get rid of lime and soap build-up that can clog your machine's "pipes." Just pour one cup of vinegar into an empty dishwasher and run through a short cycle. Your dishwasher will be (nearly) as clean as the day you bought it.

Turn the page for the #1 way to clean with white vinegar...
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