Monthly Archives: May 2015

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A Dreamy Frozen Dessert—No Ice Cream Maker Required!

An ice cream maker is a fun gadget, though most people find the novelty wears off after the first year or so. We still love ours, but have to admit it does not make the trip upstairs from the storage shelf in the basement very often.

Besides, you don’t need an ice cream maker to enjoy homemade frozen desserts. To make an icy granita, all you need is a freezer—this Italian treat is nothing more than a sweet flavored base that’s stirred around with a fork every 30 minutes or so during the freezing process to break ice crystals into smaller pieces (think snow cone).

For something a little more refined, try this fantastic frozen hot chocolate. It couldn’t be simpler, and it starts out exactly as it sounds: make hot cocoa, let it cool, freeze it. To serve, puree chunks of it in a blender or food processor. What you wind up with is the most mind-blowing upgrade to soft serve imaginable. And you won’t even have to pull your ice cream maker out of the basement!

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Entertaining? These frozen hot chocolates are a deliciously refreshing summer treat.

Frozen Hot Chocolate
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chocolate and the Art of Low-fat Desserts
Serves 6 to 7

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2/3 to ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (we prefer whole, but 1% or 2% will work), divided
  1. Combine the cocoa and 2/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk in enough milk to form a smooth paste. Whisk in all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining milk and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Taste, adding a little more sugar if necessary.
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Freeze your hot chocolate mixture until it’s solid.

  1. Cool (preferably in an ice bath), then pour the cocoa mixture into a shallow metal pan or ice cube tray and freeze until solid, preferably overnight.
  1. Break the frozen mixture into chunks and place in a sturdy blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons milk and process until no lumps remain. Serve immediately in small glasses.
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Scrumptious!

Any leftovers not eaten after pureeing can be refrozen and then scooped—they’ll be more solid, like a cross between sorbet and gelato. You can also pour leftovers into molds to make amazing fudge pops. Enjoy!

by Sara Bir

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Beach Getaway Essential Top Image

Beach Getaway Essentials

The return of warm weather means it’s time to shed your winter and early spring layers, giving you brand new opportunities to show off your one-of-a-kind style. We here at Heirloom Finds have been curating a collection of fresh jewelry pieces that go perfectly with summertime couture. So, whether you’re heading out to the beach this summer or planning your own twist on a hometown staycation, we’ve got the baubles you need to capture the spirit and excitement of vacation glamour.

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Pile on these bracelets for a trendy boho chic vibe full of nautical appeal.

Bracelet stacks are a popular year-round solution to showing off your eclectic style. While you’re tanning at the beach or dreaming of sand and waves, don’t forget to rock a boho chic collection of bracelets showing off your devotion to the ocean.

Easy, Breezy Statement Earrings

Bring your seaside glamour to the next level with these gorgeous faux druzy dangle earrings.

Looking for some ear candy to make a chic summertime statement? We’re in love with the mystic crystal vibe of these breezy faux druzy dangles. Whether you plan on dancing the night away around a beach bonfire or enjoying some poolside tropical refreshments, these are the earrings you need for your summer couture.

Iconic Necklaces

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!

Your beach getaway wardrobe isn’t complete without some lightehearted iconic pieces to celebrate your vacation. Although we often choose mermaid-worthy starfish baubles for our seaside adventures, this fun shark pendant necklace complete with opening jaws has become an instant summertime favorite.

Are you ready to get out and enjoy some summer sun? We’ve got the perfect beach-ready bracelets, earrings and necklaces to celebrate this season in style. Have fun out there!

by Sarah Clark

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Discover Aperitifs, the Summertime Answer to Cocktails

The calendar doesn’t agree, but according to the unseasonably early heat wave last week here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, summer has arrived. With our deck furniture recently hosed off and a our café glasses brought out from storage, we were prepared to cool off with a relaxing aperitif on the porch.

Aperitifs are a category of drinks as well as a tradition throughout the Mediterranean, yes, but they’re also a state of mind. “L’apéritif is both a beverage and a social activity,” writes author Georgeanne Brennan in her book Aperitif: Stylish Drinks & Recipes for the Cocktail Hour. “The beverages are rarely strong spirits and the accompanying food never satiates, as the purpose is to pique the appetite.” Unlike the offerings seen in the America’s currently booming cocktail scene, aperitifs are light on the booze, usually only contain a few simple components and are intended to stimulate the palate rather than bludgeon it. In fact, aperitifs don’t even need to contain alcohol  a simple lemonade (or citron pressé, in fancy French terms) could count. It’s all about context.

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Summertime refreshment and boho chic jewelry? Yes, please!

Aperitifs are all about transitioning from the busiest part of the day to the more relaxed, carefree time after the workday ends. Add some sun, casual company and a salty snack or two, and you have an occasion to reconnect with friends and enjoy the pleasures of the season. Sometimes, though, savoring an aperitif solo is also enjoyable. It’s the time you take for yourself to assess how the day went and what the remainder of the day holds…or to simply sit and think about nothing at all.

Your house aperitif could be anything from a glass of white or rosé wine, to a booch ‘n’ hooch, to a cooling beer cocktail…or our all-time favorite, Lillet Blanc. In France, aromatized and fortified wines served deeply chilled are common aperitifs, and the Bordeaux-produced Lillet (established in 1872) is a classic. It’s a blend of Sémillon and Sauvignoin Blanc wines flavored with orange and lemon brandies and a hint of quinine. It’s sweet and citrusy, but not cloying.

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A delicious drink and fabulous jewelry are a beautiful solution to a hot summer day.

The manufacturer recommends serving it straight, very cold, but we prefer it over lots of cracked ice and garnished with an orange slice to accentuate its sunny appeal. Another popular variation cuts the Lillet Blanc with club soda or sparkling water and lime.

If you’d like a little nibble with your aperitif, think light and crunchy. Salted almonds, a fresh crudite platter, marinated mushrooms, black and green olives, spicy popcorn, or hard or soft cheeses with crackers are easy to throw together and won’t spoil your dinner — unless you’re content to make the whole aperitif experience your evening meal. In which case, snack away!

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This breezy take on the traditional cocktail hour is gloriously light and refreshing.

Now that warm (or hot) weather is here, you don’t have to stick with the heavy-handed cocktail hour with its heavy appetizers and palate-wrecking liquors. An aperitif allows you to add some levity to your summer days. It’s a ritual that may sound frivolous at first, but you’ll soon find it’s the stuff of life, setting the tone for all that follows.

by Sara Bir

 

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baked chocolate scones

Surprise Mom (or Yourself) With Delicious Scones for Mother’s Day

We’re accustomed to gobbling fist-sized scones out of small brown paper sleeves at coffee shops, and it’s a fun way to start the day on the go. But few items in the baking sphere are as easy to master—and as rewarding to enjoy at home—than scones.

Our scone recipe is a chameleon—we’re giving you options for making it sweet and studded with chocolate, or savory with chives and aged white cheddar. You can even get crafty and flavor each half of the dough separately, so you can have a savory scone to kick things off and nibble a sweet one for seconds.

scones for mom

Scones are a sweet treat for Mother’s Day or anytime!

We prefer not to add sugar to our scones, because that way there’s leeway for piling on a big dollop of fruity jam or a golden-yellow smear of lemon curd. With savory scones, a poached or fried egg on the side is a nice touch—a boon you can’t enjoy with coffee shop scones.

Homemade scones are perfect for special weekend mornings, because it’s easy to prep them in advance, and they’re certainly not taxing to make on the fly. Instead of dragging mom to a crowded, mediocre brunch buffet this Mother’s Day, why not bake her some delectable scones and share relaxed time together at home? If you’re the mom, you’ll be treating yourself to a job well done. 

baked cheddar chive scones

These versatile scones are simply delicious!

Flaky Scones Two Ways
Adapted from Nancy Silverton
Makes 12 Scones

Some scone recipes call for lots of butter and no eggs; some call for eggs; some call for just cream and neither eggs nor butter; some call for all three. Though the results in texture and flavor will differ, the main key to scone success is not over-handling the dough. Scone dough that’s mixed just enough will bake up high and pillowy.

You can make and shape the scone dough the night before and refrigerate it, covered, to bake in the morning. You may also cover and freeze prepared, unbaked scone dough wedges for up to three months. Simply put them straight onto the baking sheet in their frozen state and extend the baking time about five minutes or so.

grating butter for scones

Be sure you prep your butter by grating it or cutting it into small pieces!

For the basic dough:

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 11 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, grated on the large holes of a box grater or cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, for brushing

For the chocolate-lemon scones:

  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or granulated sugar, for sprinkling

For the cheddar-chive scones:

  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus about 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced chives or the green tops of scallions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

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Your dough will start out looking like cornmeal.

2.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon peel (if using) in a large bowl. Add the butter and, using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, work until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (you may also do this step in a food processor, pulsing to combine, and then transferring to a large bowl to finish by hand).

finished dough will be rough but not dry

Once you’ve prepped the dough, it should have a rough texture but not be dry.

3. Make a well in the center and pour in 3/4 cup of the milk. Using a fork or your hand, stir until just moist but still rough and shaggy. Gently knead in the add-ins; if the dough seems dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons milk. Divide the dough in half and pat each portion into a 3/4-inch-thick round. Cut each round into 6 wedges and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with remaining 2 tablespoons cream. For the chocolate scones, sprinkle the tops with sugar; for the cheddar scones, sprinkle with a little bit of the reserved grated cheese.

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These dough wedges are sprinkled with sugar and ready for baking!

4.  Bake until light brown, about 18-20 minutes. The scones are best enjoyed within a few hours of baking. To refresh day-old scones, warm them in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

by Sara Bir

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Show Mom Some Love with Fabulous Pearls!

Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your mom how much you appreciate everything she does. If you’re searching for the perfect gift to show some sentiment while catering to her unique fashion sense, Heirloom Finds has you covered! We’ve curated a special collection of pearl jewelry that every mother can love, particularly those that appreciate trendsetting, classical glamour and the chic look of minimalist designs.

If your mom is a cutting-edge fashionista, this is most definitely the necklace she needs! Its trendy multi-chain layers are accented with chunky white faux pearls to create a boldly cascading look that’s both commanding and gorgeous.

If you mother loves classical glamour and timeless elegance, this sophisticated bauble will absolutely make the perfect Mother’s Day gift. With its darling clusters of white faux pearls and petite clear crystals, it adds a touch of old fashioned grace without looking out-dated.

If your mom appreciates a little luster that’s not too overbearing, this exceptionally chic freshwater pearl pendant necklace is the accessory to get. Its dainty pearl trio and modern wire wrapped design lends a stunning minimalist vibe without sacrificing style.

Whatever style your mother embraces, you can find jewelry to fit her fancy with this extraordinary collection. So enjoy discovering the pearl accessories that will show her just how much you care!  And to all moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

by Sarah Clark

 

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