Pink Tagua Bracelet

This is one of my latest designs for summer, part of the Amazon inspired collection made from Tagua nuts and Acai seeds from the Amazon rain forest. I love working with Tagua nuts, beautiful eco-friendly materials. The Tagua nut I use for this bracelet is dyed a deep berry color, a perfect complement for the classic pink leather cord. The tagua nut fits snuggly on the thick cord and is the stand alone focal point of this design . I've paired the natural Tagua nut with sterling silver ends and clasp giving it an elegant look. I like wearing my Tagua bracelet together with other bracelets especially sterling silver bangles.

Tagua Nut is also known as "vegetable ivory" and is indigenous to the rain forests of South America. The nut when it is dried resembles Ivory and can be carved into jewelry, buttons, and sculptural pieces. A sustainable and renewable resource, harvesting these nuts has little negative impact on the environment since it is the nut, and not the tree itself, that is used. For more information on Tagua nuts and Tagua nut jewelry you can read some previous posts by clicking here.  Visit my shop for additional information on the pink Tagua bracelet above.



Green Tea & Strawberry Cupcakes

I am a big fan of Matcha green tea, I love the flavor, texture and color. Such a soft and warm muted green. I normally wouldn't have combined strawberry with green tea but color wise these two are the perfect hue and they caught my eye immediately . When I saw these cupcakes on foodgawker I had to find out where they came from and that is how I came across a wonderful blog, Une deux senses. Michelle, the author of  Une deux senses - food, fashion, music & other little lovelies, takes beautiful pictures and shares so many mouth watering recipes.  I can't wait to try to make these ! I'm sharing the recipe here so you can try them too. Please visit Michelle's blog for more instructions and photos for this recipe. All photos and links for this post are clickable.

Yields: 12 cupcakes

For the cake:
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. cake flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. matcha powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the custard:
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 - 15 large strawberries, washed and hulled (more or less, to your taste)

For the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream:
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 tbsp.), cut into 12 pieces
Strawberry puree or preserves

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and matcha powder. Mix on low speed until combined. Add the butter, mixing until the cubes of butter are peanut sized or a little smaller. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed, add the wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Divide the batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 17 - 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. 

To make the custard, whip the first four ingredients together until it is well combined and begins to thicken, about 3 - 5 minutes. Place in refrigerator to let chill and thicken some more until ready to use. Chop the strawberries into small dices, and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Place some paper towels on top and place in the refrigerator to allow the water from the strawberries to seep out, about 10 minutes. Once most of the water has been released, fold the strawberries into the custard and continue to refrigerate until ready to use. To make the frosting, put the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water making sure the bottom does not actually touch the water. Stir the egg whites until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and place into the mixer stand. Beat until it becomes white and doubles in size. Add the vanilla on low speed, then add the butter, one piece at a time, making sure it is well mixed after each addition. Do not worry if it looks curdled, it will take some time for it to come together. Continue beating for 5 - 10 minutes until everything comes together. Add the strawberry puree or preserves until desired berry taste. Spread/ pipe/ smother onto your cupcakes and enjoy!!



Mama de mayor quiero ser flamenca

I've been wanting to share this blog for quite some time now , "Mama de mayor quiero ser flamenca" which means Mother, when I grow up I want to be a flamenco dancer. Even if you are not passionate about flamenco but you love fashion or just ruffles and polka dots you'll find this blog very appealing. It's written by Elena Rivera from Spain and is dedicated to Andalusian typical dress. She covers the history of flamenco, flamenco festivals in Spain, Flamenco fashion and runway and just fashion in general.

The blog is in Spanish but it's filled with lots of colorful pictures so there is plenty of eye candy if you don't read in Spanish. In the future I hope to share more flamenco fashions from this blog. Take a peek for yourself, all pictures and links on this post are clickable.   



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