burger time

We're hosting our annual Burger Cook-off next weekend and I've got burgers on the brain. Last year's winner was a Spicy Lamb burger, so I'm on the hunt for an extra special burger recipe to beat the competition. I think there could be some contenders in Food & Wine's round-up of 10 Favorite Burger Recipes. I've got my eye on this Chile-Stuffed Cheeseburger- hard to go wrong with a burger stuffed with cheese and peppers, right??

I've also been working on the homemade trophies for this years contest. Lucky for me, the thrift store did most of the work this year- just look at these beauties! Who would ever give away such a magnificent eagle trophy?! Now I've just got to figure out what I'm going to use to cover up the bottom to turn these into 1st, 2nd and 3rd Best Burger trophies (and maybe try to cover up their minor flaws, like the one in the center who is missing an eye...)

I found some great burger paraphernalia in the dollar bin at Target earlier in the summer, so I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate those as decorations too. I'm thinking the beer cozies will make good runner-up prizes.

You can check out last year's trophies and the how-to here.

[top photo from Food & Wine]


florals for men

From top left: beige hat, lt blue hat, navy hat, chambray shirt, floral jacket

I have often thought I would die of boredom if I had to wear men's clothes, but things do seem to be getting a little more exciting over in the men's section lately. Menswear designers are embracing color and patten- even florals! Hawaiian prints seem to surface every summer, but these florals are a new take on traditional floral and ditsy prints. They've been modernized with a darker, more muted color palette to keep them from looking too grandmotherly.

From left: paisley tank, button-up shirt, cream socks, olive socks

I'm all for men adding some flowers to their wardrobe. It seems only fair that they get to have some fun, especially with the color and print mixing free-for-all going on now in women's fashion. I think this trend is most successful when guys keep the rest of their outfit more casual and rugged to toughen up the florals a bit (side note: since when does Nordstrom use models with mustaches and sleeve tattoos??).

For more of my floral picks, check out my Pinterest page.

What do you think- are men ready to embrace floral prints?


strawberry jam

I opened up a jar of my latest batch of strawberry jam over the weekend and was thrilled with how delicious it was! I've been making jam for a few years now and have experimented with a number of recipes to find a great strawberry jam. A few recipes I've tried have been too sweet, and I've definitely ruined a batch or two by overcooking the strawberries. This time around, I collaborated with my friend Kelsi from Oakland Bakes to make jam after our fruit picking trip to Brentwood. We tweaked a recipe from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook a bit, and I think we found a winner.

Every good jam starts with good fruit. No amount of sugar or flavoring can compensate for unripe or out-of-season berries, so be sure to start with the most delicious fruit you can find. Your best bet for the freshest fruit is your local farmer's market (unless you want to take a trip to the farm of course!). Most market vendors will often cut you a deal if you want to buy a whole flat of berries, especially near the end of the day.

Click for the recipe and more photos after the jump:


fruit picking

I went fruit picking up in Brentwood a few weeks ago with my friend Kelsi from Oakland Bakes. Of course it ended up being the only rainy day this summer, but it was still fun to be out in the fields. We went to Enos farm, which is the only organic farm in Brentwood that lets you pick your own fruit. We loaded up on delicious apricots and strawberries for jam making. Stay tuned next week for the recipes and how-to...