Tuesday, February 21, 2012

food & wine

My love for food and wine honestly seems infinite. I'm always discovering new foods and flavor combinations, then wine just puts the icing on the cake.
The annual SoBe Food & Wine festival is the perfect meeting of these two things and while I've always wanted to go, ticket prices for the events definitely aren't college student friendly. Luckily, I got an invite for a Food & Wine preview event this past weekend so I did get in on a little bit of the action. 
Take a look:

1. Food & Wine logo ; 2. Wine tasting paired with lemon and manchego cheese ; 3. Hugh Acheson from Top Chef ; 4. Hugh's Carrot, Beet and Feta Salad ; 5. Ben Roche making us ice cream using liquid nitrogen ; 6. Ben's Coconut Habinero Ice Cream paired with a S'mores Bomb ; 7. Michael Psilakis making meatballs 3 ways ; 8. Michael's Braised Beef and Pork Meatballs

Can you say amazing? Each bite of food was better than the last but left me craving a visit to the big shows this weekend (brunch with Paula Dean, an interactive lunch with Ann Burrell and parties with Geoffery Zakarian... I wish)

Anyone want to treat me to tickets for next year? ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

collegefashionista meets the perfect spring break wardrobe

Through my column over at CollegeFashionista, I got the opportunity to work with American Eagle Outfitters on a Spring Break feature about my wonderful hometown of Miami. They sent me all the pieces for this quintessentially-Miami outfit. I love how casual yet put together it feels and just like long days of spring break, it feels oh so effortless.
For details on the pieces I'm wearing as well as a scoop on some of my favorite spots in Miami for shopping trips, nights out and of course food, check out the whole post here.
For now, I'll leave with a few outtakes from the shoot, including a couple from when my mom came by and crashed a some of the shots:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

cute crafts: photo block

For Valentine's Day this year, I decided to get a little creative. I knew I wanted part of my gift to be photo-related but didn't want to give Quino yet another picture frame. After stumbling on this Photo Cube DIY on Pinterest few weeks ago, I knew exactly what I would be making. It's simple but so pretty. I'm even thinking of making a few for myself in place of buying more frames for the countless photos I'm constantly accumulating.
All you need is a wood block (if you're wondering why mine is green, it's because I used part of an old beam from my porch), Mod Podge, a paint brush, a sander and the photos you want to use. I chose black and white photos for a more cohesive look.
This being my first attempt into the world of Mod Podging, I have to say it wasn't difficult at all. You just brush the glue onto one side, place the picture on it and let it dry. I did 2 sides at a time, opposite each other on the block, so I could weigh both down at once (I used an old yearbook). Once it dried, a good 20 minutes later, I sanded the edges (it gives the block a really nice, rustic touch) and repeated the process until I had all of the sides covered.
After that, I sealed it all with layer of Mod Podge on top. I can't stress enough how important it is to paint in straight lines that start and end off the block when you do this step. Though the Mod Podge dries clear, you'll still see the texture of it and you don't want it to have any weird streaks.
While working on this particular project, I realized that most of my pictures would look strange if turned sideways. So instead of putting a photo on the bottom, I included a cute little note.
Since I also got Quino this amazing giant fortune cookie, I thought it would be perfect to package the block in a V-Day themed take-out box.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

weekend wrap-up

While I spent most of my weekend relaxing and finishing up some Valentine's Day treats for my Valentine (look out for that post later on, he still hasn't gotten his gifts yet), I did get to go on a few adventures in between.
For Valentine's Day 2 years ago, Quino took me to Morikami Gardens. We spent a lovely day exploring these gorgeous Japanese gardens and I had the chance to go back there this weekend on a field trip for my Japanese art class. When I went last time, I didn't have my D-SLR so I was excited to snap some nicer shots this time.
Later that night, we took a trip down to Wynwood for Art Walk. While I love galleries, I was most excited about hitting up the food truck meet up that was happening there that night. I only got a few pictures in between bites of some out-of-this-world food
{toston sandwich from the Cuban Cube - this sandwich totally changed my world}
{I had every intention of photographing the delish cupcakes we picked up at Sugar Rush. Too bad we had already inhaled them by the time I remember to take a picture. Oh well... at least you know that's how good they were!}

With so many food truck in one place, it's just so hard to chose which culinary adventure to go on. I'm always looking for suggestions (that's how I discovered one of my other favorites, Ms. Cheesious) though. 
 What are YOUR favorite food trucks?  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

mini chicken meatballs

I am, by far, my biggest critic when it comes to my own cooking. While others are often raving about a meal I just prepared, I'm sitting there thinking that it could have had a little more of this or a little less of that. This meatball recipe is definitely an exception though. I'm so obsessed with them that I actually found myself saying I would gladly pay for them at a restaurant.
While this is one of those recipes that has a million little ingredients, these are the most essential (cherry tomatoes, any short cut pasta, chicken broth, ground chicken and bocconcini mozzarella)Also on my list of necessities for this recipe, a mini ice cream scoop. Sure, you could roll these out by hand (I did the first time I made them) but boy does this simple, $5 gadget make quick work for forming the 3 dozen meatballs that this recipe yields.

 After mixing all of the base ingredients (like the ketchup, bread crumbs and egg) then add the chicken. The NUMBER 1 RULE for this recipe is to not over-mix the meat. If you do, you'll end up with absurdly tough meatballs. Then use your scoop to portion out the meatballs.
Brown them in a pan coated with olive oil. You'll probably have to do this in batches so you don't over crowd the pan. Once you've browned all of the meatballs, add your halved cherry tomatoes with the chicken broth and let it cook down while it finishes cooking the meatballs. 
Then just top it off with the bocconcini and you're ready to serve!

*Note: While I love the flavor of the bocconcini, they really stick together and tend to get clumpy in the sauce. I suggest topping each serving with the cheese instead of just mixing it all together like it says in the recipe. Either way though, it's positively scrumptious!