Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category




i’m cooking more than ever these days. i love putting in a lot of effort one night and then making something really simple the next night. constantly switching up the flavors and difficulty levels. some nights it’s nice to put in a little more effort for your partner and make it feel like a fancier date. for me, i always notice that when i have flowers on the table, a burning candle, a record playing, a glass of wine, and a pretty table…it feels SPECIAL. today we’re focusing on really simple ways to elevate your date night. they are quick, inexpensive, and have a lot of impact on the evening! -bri

ELEVATE YOUR DATE NIGHT | designlovefest

oh the difference it makes…

ELEVATE YOUR DATE NIGHT | designlovefest


• we all eat with our eyes too! so presentation can make a big difference. you can get a rotisserie chicken but decide to plate it over some rosemary potatoes and it suddenly feels like you’re eating at a restaurant!

• fresh herbs. this is a big one. not only sprinkling fresh rosemary but also using the full sprigs for garnish on the plate will make it look nice. the same goes for adding fresh lemon slices to your water. keep a couple of fresh herb options on hand, i like basil, rosemary and mint and incorporate them into your meals throughout the week. it’s amazing how much it can impact the flavor of a really simple dish. adding fresh dill to your tuna salad, chopped meat to your salad, basil on a piece of fish, etc.

• matching silverware (we love this white + gold set

decant your wine while you’re cooking. it helps with the flavor and the presentation is appealing.

• taking your condiments OUT of the packaging is a big one. as a visual person this is probably the most important one for me. taking your berries out of the plastic and putting them in a bowl, putting your salt in a pinch bowl…basically taking any logos off the table and using vessels to style with.

• add a linen tablecloth and cloth napkins (you can pick up raw edged linen from your local fabric store for much cheaper than buying a linen tablecloth. it still looks cool! that’s what we are using here as our table cloth)


• herbed butter (you can look at this post for flavored butter ideas) served in a small bowl on the table. make your rolls taste amazing, or simply dip radishes with salt in the butter (so delicious)

• light a candle…set the mooooooood.

• flowers or greenery on the table actually do make it feel special. sometimes if i don’t have time to get them at the store i just go clip something from my yard and put it in a vase.


try these recipes for chicken and potatoes:



and lastly! make a playlist or put on a record. the ambiance is important to a good date night, right?

images by: Ivan Solis




rosé punch | designlovefest

it’s finally friday and it’s a long weekend! we’re excited to kick back with friends and family, enjoy the day off and spend time remembering all of the men and women who fought and died for our country. if you’re hosting a bbq or just enjoying the day outdoors with a few friends this rosé punch is the thing to make. it’s super simple, partially hydrating thanks to the sparkling water and not too strong so you can enjoy a couple of glasses on ice.


we used barefoot rosé as it’s on the sweeter side and provides a nice balance with the citrus. it’s also very affordable so you won’t have to break the bank to fill up your entire punch bowl!

what you’ll need: quantities vary depending on the size of your punch bowl. 

8 cups barefoot rosé
juice of 3 lemons
juice of 2 grapefruits
2 cups lemonade
2 cups sparkling citrus water (we used grapefruit)
+ optional simple syrup to taste (we didn’t use any but if you want it to be sweeter, go for it!)

rosé punch | designlovefest
rosé punch | designlovefest

we purchased edible flowers from here. you could also do floral or fruit ice cubes or even frozen fruit skewers as a garnish. if you do the skewers, make sure the fruit is wet before you freeze it so if gives you that nice icy look for serving.

rosé punch | designlovefest
rosé punch | designlovefest

what are your memorial day weekend plans? are you planning to make any recipes that you’re excited about?

rosé punch | designlovefest
rosé punch | designlovefest

photos by: ivan solis



alison wu smoothies | designlovefest

last week we had the pleasure of hosting the smoothie queen, Alison Wu, in the studio for the afternoon. she whipped up these beautiful creations and also shared with us her top five smoothie making tips which, if you’ve ever tried to make a layered smoothie, you know they are a lot harder to achieve than they look! i love that she not only focuses on beauty but also on balanced creations that are good for your body too. her colors are all achieved naturally through things like dragon fruit powder and even E3live for the green color (so cool!). her instagram is filled tons of healthy inspiration and recipe ideas too. thanks for inspiring our smoothie game, alison!

alison wu smoothies | designlovefest
alison wu smoothies | designlovefest
alison wu smoothies | designlovefest
alison wu smoothies | designlovefest

and here are her top 5 smoothie tips!

+ Try swapping your normal banana for 3/4 cup frozen cauliflower, 1 medium-sized peeled zucchini or 6 oz of young coconut meat.
+ If you want to make a layered smoothie, think less liquid and no ice. You’ll want the consistency to be thicker, so your layers hold their own.
+ Get creative with your colors. I use pitaya powder for pink, Blue Majik for blue, spirulina for green and turmeric for yellow. Sometimes I’ll mix a couple blackberries with the Blue Majik to get a more purple tone, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
+ Be sure to add some nut butter and protein powder to keep you feeling fuller longer.
+ To add kiwis to the glass, just thinly slice the fruit and firmly push against the side of a dry glass. It should stick relatively easily!

alison wu smoothies | designlovefest
alison wu smoothies | designlovefest
alison wu smoothies | designlovefest

i love that she’s using cauliflower as the base for many of her creations, she recommends keeping it to 3/4 cups of cauliflower per serving to keep it easy on the body to digest.

alison wu smoothies | designlovefest
alison wu smoothies | designlovefest

and this one kind of looks like those unicorn frappuccino that everyone is posting about, just the wayyyy healthier version!

alison wu smoothies | designlovefest
alison wu smoothies | designlovefest

smoothies by: Alison Wu
photos by: Ivan Solis



spring rolls | designlovefest

i love spring rolls and almost always order them as a starter if it’s an option on the menu. there are of course many traditional ways to make them and they’ve always seemed a bit intimidating to me. mastering the rice paper, the wrapping, the right ratio, etc. we decided to make our own version and make them hearty enough to serve for dinner. i know i always say this but they really couldn’t be easier. don’t let the wrapping keep you from making these, they’re simple and taste good with a variety of ingredients and dipping sauces. give it a go and let us know how you like it! – joanie

spring rolls | designlovefest
spring rolls | designlovefest

what you’ll need:
serves 4-5
• 2 strips flank steak
• 1 package rice paper
• 1 package glass noodles
• 1 bunch of radishes thinly sliced
• 1 medium avocado sliced
• 1 bunch of mint
• 1 bunch of basil
• Persian cucumbers thinly sliced
• peanut dipping sauce
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
• 2 tablespoons oil
for serving: use any dipping sauces you desire or can find at your local grocery store! 
• peanut dipping sauce
• limes for garnish

spring rolls | designlovefest

• in a bowl, marinate the flank steak with the Sriracha, soy sauce and oil for about 2 hours (you can cut down on this time if needed). once marinated cook in a pan on medium heat. cooking on each side for about 2- 3 minutes or until browned. cover with foil, let sit for about 10 minutes and cut into thin strips and set aside.

• in a sauce pan bring water to a boil and cook the glass noodles for 5-6 minutes. drain and rinse with cold water.

spring rolls | designlovefest
spring rolls | designlovefest
spring rolls | designlovefest

• on a dry clean surface lay out your ingredients to assemble your spring rolls. the sliced avocado, glass noodles, basil, mint, cucumbers, radishes. have a large bowl of warm water for the rice paper. submerge the rice paper until it has softened, about 30 – 90 seconds. remove from the water and lay on the dry surface. layer with the ingredients in the middle and fold over each side longways first and then the ends. cut the rolls in half and dip with your favorite peanut sauce. we also served ours with a sweet habanero sauce as an option.

spring rolls | designlovefest

styling by: joanie cusack and ivan solis
photos by: ivan solis
see more recipes here



frozen margaritas | designlovefest

we make a lot of margaritas at home but they’re always on the rocks, never frozen. i love the idea of making a big batch of frozen margaritas for a party and handing them out to your guests on a hot summer day. we created a base that’s delicious on it’s own but can also be adapted with the addition of fruit (we used watermelon, frozen mango and pineapple). the classic version is a great stand alone and if you don’t mind it being tart you can leave out the simple syrup for less sugar. the fruit flavored ones are definitely party worthy and require minimal effort if you’d like to give them a try! you can keep the garnishes simple, a salted rim, sliced limes and fruit or add a couple of edible flowers like we did. from a hosting perspective, i also appreciate that you can make an entire blender full and use it to serve five people instead of having to shake up individual ones on the rocks! and, Cinco De Mayo is next friday if you’re looking for an excuse to whip these up! – joanie

frozen margaritas | designlovefest

frozen margaritas
serves 5 (or 2, we don’t judge)
• 3/4 cup silver tequila
• 1/4 cup cointreau
• 1/4 cup simple syrup (leave this out if you want the limited sugar version)
• 2/3 cup fresh lime juice ( juice of 5-6 limes)
• 5- 7 cups ice

to make the fruit flavored options select one of the follow to add to the above:
• 2 cups frozen pineapple
• 2 cups frozen watermelon
• 2 cups frozen mango
if you’re adding the fruit you’re going to want to add a 1/4 cup more of tequila.

frozen margaritas | designlovefest
frozen margaritas | designlovefest

• pour everything into your blender. start with only 5 cups of ice and add more as needed, we wanted ours to be thick, where you could eat it with a spoon so we added all 7 cups. blend on high, if the blender gets stuck wait a few minutes until some of the ice melts and blend again. we made the classic version first and used it as a base for adding other frozen fruit.

frozen margaritas | designlovefest
frozen margaritas | designlovefest

we all agreed that pineapple was our favorite! also, as a note – the watermelon needs to be really ripe in order for the flavor to hold up against all of the ice.

frozen margaritas | designlovefest
frozen margaritas | designlovefest

you could also add a couple of slices of jalapeño if you’re looking to make it spicy!

frozen margaritas | designlovefest
frozen margaritas | designlovefest

let us know if you make them! we love to hear your feedback! Xx

frozen margaritas | designlovefest
frozen margaritas | designlovefest

photos by: Ivan Solis

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