Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category




as an adult i get invited to a lot of parties and events that ask for you to bring something to pass, or pot luck style meals. i’m often the one bringing items from the whole foods prepared bar due to lack of time but i’m here today to show you an easy dessert hack. king arthur flour recently came out with a line of packaged mixes called essential goodness that offers the convenience of a boxed mix but without any artificial colors, hydrogenated oils, preservatives and as a bonus – they are non-GMO (which is verrry hard to find with packaged food!). -joanie


we tested out the vanilla bean cheesecake bars which were delicious and served them with fresh berries, mint and a drizzle of white chocolate to make them worthy of your next dinner party.

what you’ll need:
• 1 box essential goodness vanilla bean cheesecake
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 8 ounces cream cheese
• 1 bag white chocolate chips
• fresh mint
• 2 cups strawberries and 1 cup raspberries

to assemble:
• follow the direction on the box to make the bars and put them in the refrigerator for at least three hours.


• next, thinly slice 1 cup of your strawberries and arrange on top of your bars into desired pattern.


• chop remaining strawberries and raspberries and place in a bowl (this is optional but we used it as a garnish once the bars were cut).  


• to melt the chocolate either use a double boiler or pour a small amount of water in the bottom of a sauce pan on medium heat and put a smaller glass bowl on top with the chocolate in it. add the white chocolate chips and stir constantly until melted. spoon into a quart size zip-lock bag. cut one corner of the bag off and drizzle across your bars.


ta-da! looks beautiful and couldn’t be easier!

p.s. all the mixes are under $5 and you can purchase them in-stores or online, here!


styling by: joanie cusack and ivan solis
photos by: ivan solis

(this post was created in partnership with king arthur flour a company we support). 



pork rice bowls |designlovefest

there is a restaurant by my house called pine&crane and they serve a really simple minced pork bowl that is full of flavor and the perfect simple dinner. i knew i wanted to re-create it for you all with a few additional items and it turned out perfectly. the tang of lime juice with the saltiness of the meat and the crunch of the cabbage is spot on. and who doesn’t love a runny egg?! enjoy! – joanie 

pork rice bowls |designlovefest
pork rice bowls |designlovefest

makes 4 servings 

what you’ll need:
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1 shallot
• 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 4 eggs hardboiled to your liking
• green onions diced
• 2 limes
• pickled purple cabbage
• 1 english cucumber
• 4 baby bok choy
• 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
• 2 cups white rice
• 2 cups vegetable stock
• olive oil
• 2 cups roasted cashews

pork rice bowls |designlovefest
pork rice bowls |designlovefest

in a medium pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium to low heat. thinly chop 1 shallot and cook until lightly browned. stirring constantly as to not burn. add 2 cups white rice with 3/4 cup canned coconut milk, 2 cups vegetable stock, and one cup water. salt and pepper to taste and cover and allow to cook for about 25 minutes on low heat or until rice is tender and fluffy.

pork rice bowls |designlovefest
pork rice bowls |designlovefest
pork rice bowls |designlovefest

in a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the ground pork and begin to break it apart so that it cook evenly and the pink begins to brown. add the rice vinegar, low sodium soy sauce, and fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and let the pork cook in its own juices for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. you may also cook for longer periods of time if you like the pork to be crispier.

pork rice bowls |designlovefest
pork rice bowls |designlovefest

in a separate pot, quickly blanch the baby bok choy in boiling water.

dice a few sprigs of green onions and quarter the limes into wedges. thinly slice the english cucumber.

to assemble scoop a layer of rice in the bottom of your bowl, then add the ground pork. serve with the baby bok choy, pickled purple cabbage, roasted cashews, sliced cucumbers, and green onions. top with the hardboiled eggs and serve with a lime wedge.

pork rice bowls |designlovefest

styling by: joanie cusack and ivan solis
photos by: ivan solis

more food posts HERE!



ceviche | designlovefest

we’re constantly working on creating food and recipes for you that are equally beautiful and practical. it’s really important to me that we bring you recipes that will actual work when you test them and that won’t let you down in how they taste because that’s what really matters. we also really focus on meals and foods that are approachable for an everyday cook and that don’t require a lot of time or bizarre ingredients. it isn’t always easy to find that combo but it’s always the goal! this ceviche recipe is just that, beautiful, practical, approachable and delicious! obviously, the fresh fish aspect of it is the most important. the citrus actually cooks the fish when you add it so you don’t need to worry about bacteria but you do need to worry about freshness. you don’t want even the remote taste of fishiness or it will ruin it. we recommend telling the person at your market what you’re using the fish for and what came in most recently. and the homemade chip aspect, don’t even get me started, i never want to buy corn chips again! – joanie

ceviche | designlovefest

makes 4 servings

what you’ll need:
• half a pound of white fish (we used tilapia, wild caught is preferable)
• 2 lemons squeezed
• 1 bunch cilantro chopped
• 1 large grapefruit peeled and hulled
• 1 jalapeño
• 2 persian cucumbers chopped
• quarter red onion diced
• 1-2 avocados diced
• 6-8 tortillas
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• sea salt
• grapeseed oil

ceviche | designlovefest

ceviche: chop the tilapia into small cubes and mix with two squeezed lemons in a ceramic bowl or glass bowl. Add salt to taste. Mix in the cilantro, grapefruit, Persian cucumbers, red onion, avocados and jalapeño. We de-stemmed our jalapeño and left a few seeds to add a little kick to our ceviche. Set aside in the refrigerator and let it sit in its juices for at least an hour ( this process will cook the fish from the salt and acidity in the lemons).

ceviche | designlovefest
ceviche | designlovefest

paprika chips: put 6-8 tortillas in a stack and cut into quarters. On a cast iron skillet heat 4 tablespoons of grapeseed oil on medium to high heat. Reduce heat if oil begins to smoke. Fry the tortilla quarters for about a minute on each side or until crispy and golden brown. Set aside on paper towels and gently tap any excess oil. Repeat the process until all chips have been fried.

Using a pestle and mortar grind the paprika and sea salt into a fine powder. Garnish the chips with the paprika salt.

ceviche | designlovefest
ceviche | designlovefest
ceviche | designlovefest
ceviche | designlovefest

Serve with your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!





tropical popsicles | designlovefest

i’d never made popsicles before but now that we tried this recipe i’m hooked! they seriously couldn’t be easier. you basically just shove everything into the molds and freeze. we made ours with vanilla yogurt and they turned out perfectly sweet but you could also swap in plain greek yogurt if you’re watching your sugar intake. we purchased the granola at Sprouts but, if you have the time i’d make your own. this is by far my favorite granola recipe, six ingredients, naturally sweetened and tastes like dessert. – joanie
p.s these are the molds we used! 

tropical popsicles | designlovefest
tropical popsicles | designlovefest

what you’ll need:
makes 6 popsicles 
• 2 cups vanilla yogurt
• 3 kiwis sliced
• 6-8 strawberries hulled and sliced
• 1 cup pre-made granola
• 2-3 tablespoons honey

tropical popsicles | designlovefest

• wash and slice your fruit. next spoon a layer of yogurt into your molds, about 3 tablespoon worth. add the fruit, pushing it into the yogurt so that it’s covered. add more yogurt as needed until it’s almost full.

tropical popsicles | designlovefest
tropical popsicles | designlovefest

• in a small bowl, mix the granola with the honey until evenly covered or until the granola sticks together and can be molded. we used a granola mix that contained roasted almonds and coconut flakes. most health food stores will carry a variety of granola mixes in the bulk section.

• add the granola as the final layer into the popsicle molds and insert the popsicle sticks. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight for a sturdier popsicle.

tropical popsicles | designlovefest
tropical popsicles | designlovefest

styling by: joanie cusack and ivan solis
photos by: ivan solis



DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest

a couple of Saturdays ago i attended a summer evening soirée with Cointreau that was both beautiful and fun! they served all different types of cocktails and food based off of different destinations – Tulum, Croatia, Marrakesh (remember this photo?), etc. one of the stations was a DIY cocktail bar (featuring Cointreau Rickeys) that i wanted to re-create for you to show how you can bring artful twist on entertaining at your own soirées with delicious cocktails. it’s a super simple recipe of fresh lime juice, club soda and Cointreau and can be personalized by guests with fresh fruits and herbs. i also love that the set up can double as decor because of all the pretty produce!

DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest

what you’ll need for the cocktail portion:
• Cointreau
• limes
• club soda

for the DIY bar: 
• herbs  (basil, mint, rosemary)
• strawberries
• dragon fruit
• blackberries
• mango
• apricot
• cucumber
• jalapeño
• limes

DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest

creating the bar:
• wash and cut all of your produce. arrange all of the items in different sized bowls and platters. set out a jigger, muddler, bucket of ice, glasses and a bottle of Cointreau. you can either have guests juice their own limes or you can do that before hand but make sure it’s fresh lime juice, that part makes a big difference. the only liquor you need is the Cointreau as it’s 80 proof and can stand alone for a balanced and refreshing cocktail.

DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest

• to assemble have guests select their desired ingredients and place them in the bottom of their glass, muddle everything together and top with 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 2 ounces Cointreau, add ice and top with club soda.

DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest

• we went all out on the produce selections because it’s summer and there are so many beautiful things in season (especially the berries)! feel free to scale it back to whatever you have on hand. a few combinations we loved – blackberry + mint, cucumber +mango + jalapeño and dragon fruit + basil + strawberry.

DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest

cheers, everyone! we hope you have fun creating your DIY cocktail bar. xx

DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest
DIY cocktail bar | designlovefest

styling by: joanie cusack and ivan solis
photos by: ivan solis

(this post was sponsored by Cointreau, all opinions are my own). 

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