Snowballs

This is one of my specialties when it comes to making Christmas cookies. It’s super easy and super delicious.

Ingredients:
– Animal crackers
– Sour cherry jam
– Finely chopped walnuts or almonds
– Pure almond extract
– Vanilla extract
– Coconut flakes

Directions:
1. Grind the walnuts/almonds in a blender.
2. Pulverize the animal crackers with a rolling pin or in a blender.
3. Mix all ingredients (except the coconut flakes) together. Adjust ingredients for optimum stickiness. If too dry, add more jam. If too sticky, add more crackers/nuts.
4. Roll into 1 inch balls, dip into coconut flakes, stack. Refrigerate overnight (preferably) or you can serve them as is. (They taste better after ruminating for at least 24 hours).

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My Absolute Favorite Lemon Bar Recipe

I’m not gonna say it’s culinary week up in here…but it might be culinary week up in here. #sorrynotsorry for all the food porn I’ve got coming your way. But here’s some more!

I made lemon bars for my Annual Friends Christmas Party a couple weeks ago, so it’s about time to share these babies with you guys.

Ingredients:

Cookie Base
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
zest from 1/2 lemon
3/4 stick cold, softened butter

Filling (I usually make double the following amounts)
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
zest from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 eggs
3 tbsp greek yogurt (I used Chobani)

Directions:
1. Add flour, salt, sugar, lemon zest, and butter and mix well. You can do this by hand or food processor.
2. In a baking pan, spread mixture evenly, pat down. Bake at 350 F for 20 mins; take out and let cool for 20 mins.
3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt; then whisk in the grapefruit zest, juice, eggs, and yogurt until thoroughly combined.
4. Pour over cookie base and bake at 350 F for 20-25 mins until set and center does not jiggle.
5. Let cool; dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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Snowballs, Facebook, and Spandex

Two weeks of the new year have officially flown by and it’s about that time that I update again.

First off, I have three exciting new announcements!
1. You can now LIKE! and follow Vivography on Facebook by clicking here, searching “Vivography” on Facebook, or clicking the nifty Like box to the right of this post in the sidebar. Phew! I know, a lot of options.
2. If you’ve been to the blog before, you might notice some changes. That’s right folks, I’ve updated the color scheme/header/background. It now reflects my business cards! *fistpump* CONTINUITY!
3. This is somewhat related to this blog, buuuuut I am officially the new intern at PeaceLoveSpandex! Aaaand it’s pretty much awesome and I have been convinced (though convincing wasn’t really needed) that everyone should wear spandex. Because reasons. I’m gonna start wearing bodysuits, pretty much.

Anywayyy, it’s time for some long awaited foodography. At my house, for the “big” holidays (aka Christmas & Easter) we’re pretty traditional when it comes to la comida. Every year, I help my mom cook traditional Romanian food (stuffed cabbage rolls, Romanian veggie salad, various desserts, etc) and every year since I’ve had my camera, I’d taken pictures of the goodies. This year I managed to snap pictures of the desserts before they were all eaten up, as well as my classy glass of wine and this gorgeous little mouthblown glass teacup that I picked up at Anthropologie. BONUS: It’s made in Romania!

Greta Garbo tort.

Greta Garbo tort.

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Snowballs!

Snowballs!

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DDF Part I: LUSH-ious Cupcakes

I had the privilege of participating in Detroit Design Festival for the second year in a row – this time showcasing my fashion design talents at the closing ceremony on September 23rd at the Coleman A. Young Airport in Detroit. But before the whole part where my work strutted down the catwalk thing happened, I got to run around with my camera taking pictures of models, food, and airplanes. Among it all was LUSH-ious Cupcakes of Royal Oak, Michigan.

They were kind enough to let me take photos of their delicious alcohol-infused cupcakes and blog about it. I took some while they were setting up, and after they were done.

The cupcakes are amazing. I must say I really love their chocolate amaretto flavor. If you’re from Michigan and you live in the Metro Detroit area, you need to check them out! You can learn more on their Facebook page by clicking here.

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Macedonian Petit Fours

I’ve always been a huge fan of pastries. I’m pretty sure that even if my grandma hadn’t heavily influenced me toward the sweets food group, I probably still would’ve had a “sweet tooth”. That said, I’m always drawn to pastries and cakes and well, just food in general wherever I am. A few weeks ago, my mom and I dropped by a local store that sells imports from Eastern Europe and we bought a package of Kolid petit fours from Macedonia. They were pretty good. So of course, I took pictures. Enjoy!

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Coconut Almond Muffins with Peach Chutney

This week I had a day off from work filled with sunshine, cats, roses, and the urge to bake. So I went on FoodGawker, which I hadn’t paid a visit to in quite some time, and searched my favorites. I found this recipe for Coconut Almond Cake and since I couldn’t find our small baking pan, I turned mine into muffins.

I replaced ground almonds with almond flour which made the muffins finer and yellower as opposed to browny. I also cut the sugar down to 150 grams instead of 170 and replaced coconut milk with soymilk. I calculated one cupcake to be 7 points on Weight Watchers (1 out of 12 muffins), which is more than I had expected and wanted, but that just means I have to find ways to alter the recipe in the future.

Lastly, since I didn’t have any raspberry sauce or preserves or really any proper jam or preserves to go with my muffins like the original recipe, I made peach “chutney”. Recipe follows:

Peach Chutney

– 1 big peach (preferably from fridge)
– 1 tbsp honey
– 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Chop cold peach into small chunks.
2. Add honey and lemon juice, mix. Serve.

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