Living Better Together

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Eat. Create. Party! No. 19



Welcome to the Eat. Create. Party! link party! A link party where you can share all of your latest creations and lifestyle posts. Your amazing content will be shared on FOUR blogs!

I also have a fun giveaway for you all this week!

You can check out my book review for The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender here.

Don’t forget to grab the party button and put it on your page somewhere to spread the word!

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Features!

Most Viewed:


Key Lime Pie from This Silly Girl's Life

My Favorite:


DIY Upholstered Bench from My Love 2 Create

Visit I Want Crazy, Endlessly Inspired, and A Dash of Sanity to check out their favorites from last week! 

Don't forget to grab your feature button!

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All Features and other favorites will be pinned to our Eat. Create. Party! board on Pinterest!

Rules:

1. Please follow your hosts in some way! Let us know you did and we'll return the love!

Living Better TogetherPinterest - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Google+
I Want CrazyPinterest - Facebook - Twitter - Google+ - Instagram
Endlessly InspiredPinterest - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Bloglovin'
A Dash of SanityPinterest - Facebook - Google+ - Twitter

2. If you'd like, grab the party button and tell your friends!

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3. No giveaways, Etsy shops, or link parties please.

4. Please link to a specific post, not your homepage.

5. Get inspired! Visit other links! Spread the word! It is a party after all!

Please be aware that by sharing your posts at Eat. Create. Party! you are giving permission to our hosts to feature your projects on social media, on their blogs as featured posts and in round-up posts with links back to your site and all credit given to you. By providing your email, you are subscribing to updates about this link up. You may opt out at any time.

We can't wait to see what you link up with us this week! But first, join us for an Instagram Hop!

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - Book Review


Book Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender | www.livingbettertogether.com

It's been a long time since I have read a book like The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. A book that was written in a way that's like freshly brushed paint on a blank canvas. 

Smooth. Vibrant. Beautiful.

Walton walks you through the generations of the Lavender family while straddling the line between reality and the supernatural. The story, told by Ava Lavender, is a hauntingly beautiful tale about life, love, loss and the weight they hold over us.

From the first chapter I was glued; it was both captivating and cultural, magical and historical, romantic and depressing. This story demanded emotion from it's reader, your heart loves and breaks with the characters. The words danced off the pages and the characters crept their way into my heart. 

Whether you're a young adult or an old soul, you will love this book!

Because I loved this book so much, I want to give one of my lovely readers a Kindle version of the book!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Island Daiquiri Cupcakes


Island Daiquiri Cupcakes www.livingbettertogether.com

So I may have outdone myself with these cupcakes. They're a bit over the top and nontraditional, but they are oh so good! I wanted something that was going to take me away somewhere warm, a cupcake for the beach, even though they don't necessarily go hand in hand. Coconut and rum cupcakes filled with a silky key lime curd and topped with a creamy mango frosting seemed like a fabulous combination of flavors. So the Island Daiquiri Cupcake was born! 

Island Daiquiri Cupcakes www.livingbettertogether.com

More than anything else these cupcakes are fun and inventive. You might get a few weird looks when you explain to people what they are, but you're going to get a lot of smiles once they take a bite. If you're not a big fan of chocolate or super sweet treats, this cupcake is perfect for you. It's mild flavors and light alcoholic punch are just the thing for summer celebrations; whether at the beach, by the pool or up in the northern lakes of Maine.

I sent these cupcakes with my mother to work and the reports were that I was converting people who never liked cupcakes ever into cupcake lovers. 

They were also referred to as orgasmic.

I'll take that as a cupcake win!

Island Daiquiri Cupcakes www.livingbettertogether.com

Makes 24 Cupcakes
Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 Box Duncan Hines White Cake Mix
  • 3.9 oz. Package Jell-O Coconut Cream Instant Pudding
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Milk or Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup Rum
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Extract
Key Lime Curd Ingredients:
Recipe adapted from Alaska From Scratch
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Key Lime Juice approx. 4-5 Key Limes
  • 1 tbsp Key Lime Zest
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Instant Vanilla Pudding Powder
  • 1 - 1.7 oz. Package of Freeze Dried Mangoes (I get mine at Trader Joe's but you can also buy them on Amazon)
  • 1/2 cup Confectioners' Sugar
Cupcake Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Line cupcake pan.
  • Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and beat until combined.
  • Fill cupcake liners 1/2 - 3/4 full.
  • Reduce heat to 325 F.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes until toothpick comes clean.
  • Remove from oven and transfer cupcakes to cooling racks to finish cooling.
  • Once cupcakes have cooled, core them for the key lime curd.
Key Lime Curd Directions:

  • In a small pot, wisk together eggs and sugar until well blended.
  • Wisk in key lime juice and zest.
  • Turn heat on medium-low and stir fast and constantly until mixture is warmed through.
  • Add butter a tablespoon at a time until melted and curd becomes smooth.
  • Continue stirring constantly until curd thickens and looks almost creamy.
  • Curd is done once it coats the back of a spoon.
  • Strain curd through a cheese cloth or fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl to remove zest piece and any clumps. 
  • Tightly seal bowl with cover or cling wrap and place in the fridge until completely cooled.
  • Once cooled, spoon about a tbsp or a little less into the holes you cored out in the cupcakes. 
Frosting Directions:
  • Add freeze dried mangoes to a food processor and blend until you have a fine dust.
  • Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer or large bowl and whip until frosting is light and fluffy. 
  • Use a bag or decorator tool to pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes making sure to cover the key lime filling entirely.
  • Serve immediately for best taste.
Island Daiquiri Cupcakes www.livingbettertogether.com

Enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bite Sized Cookie Butter Cream Pies


Bite Sized Cookie Butter Cream Pies www.livingbettertogether.com

The thing about cookie butter is that it's addictive. As soon as you try it you begin imagining all of the amazing ways you can use it. One of those ways for me was cream pie, it just seemed like a natural use for the creamy and delicious spread. 

Bite Sized Cookie Butter Cream Pies www.livingbettertogether.com


Cookie Butter can be a bit rich for some, so I decided to make bite sized cream pies. They were the perfect on the go treat for Matt's guys trip to Massachusetts last weekend... you know, cause there's nothing like cream pie for breakfast. These mini Belgian Chocolate Cups were an easy and delicious crust for the pie. 

Bite Sized Cookie Butter Cream Pies www.livingbettertogether.com

I love how the Belgian Chocolate cups hugged the creamy cookie butter pie and how the vanilla cream lightened it up so it wasn't too rich! I really liked the fact that you don't have to wait for the filling to set. They're soft in the beginning but not liquid like a lot of cream pies start out. You can easily pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes if you want to firm them up a bit, or in the fridge if you're not in a real hurry. If you're looking for an impressive dessert that you can whip up in 15 minutes, this is it!

Bite Sized Cookie Butter Cream Pies www.livingbettertogether.com


Makes 24 Bites
Ingredients: 
  • 18 Belgian Chocolate Cups
  • Chocolate Sprinkles
Filling:
  • 1/2 cup Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 cup Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Cookie Butter
  • 1/2 cup Confectioners' Sugar
Cream:
  • 1 cup Whipping Cream
  • 3 tbsp Instant Vanilla Pudding Powder
  • 1/4 cup Confectioners' Sugar
Directions:
  • Combine filling ingredients in a medium bowl or stand mixer and beat until well blended.
  • Pipe filling into Belgian Chocolate Cups - You can find these cups at Walmart.
  • In a separate medium bowl or cleaned stand mixer, combine cream ingredients and whip until light and fluffy.
  • Top pie filling with little dollops of cream and chocolate sprinkles.
  • Serve immediately or store in fridge for up to 48 hours.
Bite Sized Cookie Butter Cream Pies www.livingbettertogether.com

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shirley Temple Float


Shirley Temple Floats www.livingbettertogether.com

Shirley Temples are my absolute favorite drink, I could live off the things I love them so much! They're such a classic drink and perfect for any age. Spring has finally come to Maine, it's in the 60's today and might reach 73 on Monday! It's kind of insane to think we were battling snowstorms and freezing cold weather only a couple of weeks ago. 

So with this warm weather, I've been doing a lot of summer dreaming. I can't wait for trips to the coast and outdoor concerts, festivals and swimming, hiking and Barbecuing! So I decided to give my favorite drink a little summer twist.. Ice Cream! A Shirley Temple Float seemed like the perfect way to welcome this warm weather and sunshine!

Ingredients:
8 oz. Lemon Lime Soda (I use Sierra Mist)
A splash of Grenadine
1 Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream
Maraschino Cherries
Whipped Cream
Ice

Directions:
Pour soda over ice and maraschino cherries.
Add Grenadine.
Add ice cream and top with whipped cream.

Shirley Temple Floats www.livingbettertogether.com

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Eat. Create. Party! No. 18



Welcome to the Eat. Create. Party! link party! A link party where you can share all of your latest creations and lifestyle posts. Your amazing content will be shared on FOUR blogs!

Don’t forget to grab the party button and put it on your page somewhere to spread the word!

 photo TGIF_zps40a588c0.png



Features!

Most Viewed:


Watermelon Daiquiri from Who Needs a Cape

My Favorites:


DIY Lotion Bars from Some of This and That


Cake Batter Marshmallows from Sabor Pastel

Visit I Want Crazy, Endlessly Inspired, and A Dash of Sanity to check out their favorites from last week! 

Don't forget to grab your feature button!

 photo TGIF_zps40a588c0.png


All Features and other favorites will be pinned to our Eat. Create. Party! board on Pinterest!

Rules:

1. Please follow your hosts in some way! Let us know you did and we'll return the love!

Living Better TogetherPinterest - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Google+
I Want CrazyPinterest - Facebook - Twitter - Google+ - Instagram
Endlessly InspiredPinterest - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Bloglovin'
A Dash of SanityPinterest - Facebook - Google+ - Twitter

2. If you'd like, grab the party button and tell your friends!

 photo TGIF_zps40a588c0.png




3. No giveaways, Etsy shops, or link parties please.

4. Please link to a specific post, not your homepage.

5. Get inspired! Visit other links! Spread the word! It is a party after all!

Please be aware that by sharing your posts at Eat. Create. Party! you are giving permission to our hosts to feature your projects on social media, on their blogs as featured posts and in round-up posts with links back to your site and all credit given to you. By providing your email, you are subscribing to updates about this link up. You may opt out at any time.

We can't wait to see what you link up with us this week! But first, join us for a Facebook Hop!