WHIMSICAL HOLIDAY DESSERT TABLE

Since Thanksgiving is over, I'm officially ready for Christmas! Here's a cute little dessert table we put together for our annual Christmas Eve get-together.

Obsessed by these Meri Meri bird cupcake toppers, I went for a theme inspired by The Nutcracker and Mendl's from "The Grand Budapest Hotel," without taking either too literally. 

Our Christmas Eve is all about the kids, so I took the non-traditional, sherbert-colored birds and ran with it. The bird garland then set the backdrop, with some added pinwheels.  I hung sparkly ornaments from the dining room chandelier, birds to fly over the table, and the table was set with foraged fir branches, amaryllis, tangerines, a wink to the nutcracker and sprinkle-covered ice cream cones.  Jenna Elliott, of One Eleven Photography, captured it below.

How cute are the reindeer cups?!  I replaced the candy cane striped cups with gold stars to complement the theme. 

My little sugar plum fairy in her teepee.

Photos: Jenna Elliott, One Eleven Photography

GRAIN-FREE CARROT CAKE

It's Easter Week! We will be celebrating one of our favorite holidays with decoration and recipe ideas. Here's a delicious cake without all the post-junk food guilt!

I took one of my favorite grain-free recipes and put a holiday twist on it. I love this cake because it's the only carrot cake I've ever had that doesn't make me feel sick after eating it. I adapted the recipe from Elana's Pantry, but I have changed several components. I also use real cream cheese in the frosting. Elana has a great coconut-based frosting, should you want a dairy-free option. 

Cake Ingredients:

3 Cups Blanched Almond Flour

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

5 Large Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/2 Cup Warmed Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or a combination of both)

3 Cups Carrots, Grated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice.

In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract and oil. Add Carrots. Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until completely combined.

Place batter into two well greased round 9" cake pans.

Bake for 35 minutes. Do not over bake! Allow to cool. 

Frosting Ingredients:

3- 8 oz. Bars of Cream Cheese (at room temp)

3/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

---

Topping:

1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut

*For Easter, I've also added some chocolate caramel eggs from Whole Foods.

---

Serves 8-10

Combine cream cheese, maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl and mix on high for 1 - 2 minutes until thoroughly combined and creamy. Do not frost the cake until it is completely cool.

When you are ready to frost the cake, take a pastry bag with a 1/2" open tip and fill it with 1/2 of the frosting. If you don't have a pastry bag, create your own by taking a large Ziplock bag and cut 1/2" off of a side corner.

Place the first half of the cake top-side down on your cake plate.

Frost the first layer, by starting in the middle and work your way out in a continual circle. It's fine if it doesn't look perfect! Just make sure it is all covered out to the edge.

Place the second layer of cake on top of the frosting top-side up. 

Fill your pastry bag with the remaining frosting and repeat. Now gently smooth the frosting with a spatula. 

Sprinkle coconut shreds evenly on top.

Decorate with candy eggs to add an Easter touch.

I also added this adorable Meri Meri Easter cake topper to make it extra festive. xx

EASTER PARTY

Our Easter party checklist includes carrot cake, crudités with spinach leek dip, deviled eggs, watermelon bunnies, fresh flowers, confetti eggs, surprise bunnies and lots of fun partyware.

Love the way that tulip opened.

Sweet little birds sweeping over the flowers.

The Meri Meri surprise bunnies and pinwheels help to fill empty space on the table.

The kids welcome the Easter Bunny (cake topper).

And then dig into the treats. 

How cute are the little quail eggs in the crudités box from Joan's On Third?

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING (REFINED SUGAR-FREE)

Lately I have been doing a ton of cooking and baking. Every night I seem to be testing out some new version of my favorite recipes to suit my (kinda, almost) mostly sugar and grain-free diet. Sis coined this as "Paleo Adjacent" and I think that's a perfect description. Turns out, Sis and I like our Paleo Adjacent desserts more than their earlier, traditional incarnations. This Dark Chocolate Pudding is taken from the most INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS recipe from The New York Times. I've substituted the sugar for maple syrup but I do love it with real milk and cream. I've included a non-dairy version that is really delicious too. The original recipe also called for corn starch which I replaced with arrowroot powder and optional grass fed gelatin. The texture is thick and smooth. Make this for your Valentine and I'm sure you'll get lots of X's & O's. 

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Serves 8

1 large egg, plus 2 yolks

6 oz extra dark chocolate 70-85% (or darker if you prefer), roughly chopped

2 tablespoons butter (use ghee for a dairy-free version)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups whole milk (use full-fat coconut milk for a dairy free version)

1/2 cup heavy cream (use coconut cream for a dairy-free version)

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 tablespoon grass fed gelatin (optional)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for garnishing

whipped cream for serving (whip up the leftover heavy cream from above with a dash of vanilla and a splash of maple syrup)

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together egg and yolks. Set aside.

Place chocolate, butter and vanilla in a food processor or blender (I use my VitaMix) but do not turn on.

In a medium pot, whisk together milk, cream, maple syrup, cocoa, arrowroot, gelatin and salt until smooth. Bring to a full boil, whisking, and let bubble for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let it burn. It will start to thicken. When it does, remove from heat. 

Pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to prevent them from curdling. Do this a few times and then pour the eggs into the pot with the remaining mixture. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture just returns to a bare simmer (one bubble is plenty). Immediately pour into the food processor or blender. Run the machine until the pudding is very smooth (the hot mixture will melt the chocolate).

Pour into individual bowls or one large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refridgerate until firm and cold. At least 4 hours for individual servings or 8+ for a large bowl. One chilled and ready for serving, remove from fridge. Sprinkle with medium-sized sea salt granules. Top with fresh whipped cream. I also love this with fresh berries.

 I hope you love it as much as we do! xoxox!

Seersucker Napkin: Hedley & Bennett

Wooden Tray: West Elm

Wooden Bowls: Target

BOHO CHIC BACHELORETTE PARTY

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

One of our very favorite events EVER EVER EVER, in the history of Twink + Sis, was this boho chic bachelorette party, for my lovely friend Veronica. We were beside ourselves to have the soirée featured on Martha Stewart Weddings a few months back. I'm so excited to share even more photos and details here on T+S!

All images by Alissa Noelle Photography.

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

We had the party at the bride-to-be's house because her backyard is gorgeous and I have actually always wanted to do an event there. I am in love with her drought-resistant landscaping and fruit and vegetable gardens. It was the perfect backdrop for a ladies' night to celebrate her upcoming wedding. The idea was to have the bride's closest girlfriends for an evening of drinks, desserts and games -- an elevated bachelorette party.

Veronica's favorite color is purple, so we used that as the jumping off point for the color palette. We also had gems as a running theme throughout -- the piñata, cookies, hexagonal platters -- a nod to her diamond engagement ring.

I had this idea to create really unexpected floral arrangements that were not only visible from all sides, but also "spilling out," making for a super dreamy, romantic scene. Iris & Daughter did an incredible job bringing that vision to life -- absolutely blew it out of the park! It really looked like a fairytale! The acrylic boxes did triple duty by creating height and also providing a shelf for drinking glasses and party decor.

We wanted to party to have luxe layers of boho, as well as modern. We mixed gold and copper which added a glamorous touch. Our custom rope and tassels installation framed the single diamond-shaped piñata, and was draped throughout the dessert table.    

The bride-to-be wore a fresh flower crown while relaxing in her peacock "throne." We served several desserts and Veronica's favorite drinks -- rosé and prosecco. 

Whisk and Whittle made beautiful and delicious treats, including a marbled berry cake, topped with brightly-colored bohemian flowers, mini blackberry donuts and chocolate hazelnut tarts. We added in some gem cookies by Holly Fox to keep the diamond theme rolling.

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

A small, intimate party is such a treat. You can create so many lovely details when you don't have to feed and seat 100 people. We braided tassels from natural cotton twine for each person's goblet as an added touch.

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

The bride is Italian and her wedding was in Italy so we paid homage to that with this custom sign by A Dapper Line that read "un brindisi all bella Veronica" ("A toast to the beautiful Veronica"). 

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

We love some good games to get the party going. Our favorites are Scattergories, tailored to the theme of the event, and everyone's favorite -- THE QUIZ. (To learn more about our favorite bachelorette and baby/bridal shower games CLICK HERE).

We braided some of the leftover yarn from the rope installation to decorate the beautiful Compartés chocolate bars, that served as gifts for the game winners.

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

We made the seating area festive by added giant balloons with fresh greens and flowers. It made it feel girly and fun -- just like a bachelorette should be!

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

All of the guests participated in creating a beautiful woven wall hanging that was gifted to the bride at the end of the evening. Makers Mess (an art studio that comes to you!) provided an instructor and all of the materials needed to create the piece. We loved this because it was something that everyone could take part in (no matter their skill level) while still being able to chat and enjoy the party.

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

TWINK + SIS Boho Chic Bachelorette Party

I wish I could live in this party! Congratulations Veronica!

xoxo!! LL

CREDITS:

Concept & Design: Twink + Sis

Photography: Alissa Noelle Photography

Guest of Honor: Veronica Lombardo

Florals: Iris & Daughter

Desserts (Cake, Tarts & Donuts): Whisk & Whittle

Gem Cookies: Holly Fox

Furniture Rentals: Circa Vintage Rentals

Tabletop Rentals: Borrowed Blu

Signage: A Dapper Line

Craft + Instruction: Makers Mess

Balloons: Koyal Wholesale

Piñata: Prospect Goods via Bracket

Candles: Yummi Candles

Wicker Water Pitcher: Maison Midi

Hexagon Platters, Candle Holders, Vase: CB2

Moroccan Wedding Pillows & Old Fashioned Glasses: Anthropologie

Ice Bucket, Tongs & Berry Cups: Crate & Barrel

Game Prizes: Compartés

Game Stationary: Paper Source

Gold Game Pencils: Etsy