Strawberry coconut popsicle recipe

Strawberry coconut popsicle recipeWe’re on day 2 of Popsicle the Rainbow with Popsicle Master, Trisha Zemp, and this one was delicious! See, the fun part of creating this series is all the “work” we have to do like experimenting tasting flavors. Trisha nailed it with this one.

See below for the full recipe and to see where to shop the look!

New York Cake Topper

New York Cake Topper and Confetti

We love all the components of this cake topper. It really is the essence of New York on a cake! You could also make cupcakes and top each one with a different New York scene.

Materials: 

Instructions:

  1. Print out the templates on heavy-duty white card stock.
  2. Cut out shapes using scissors.
  3. For the cake topper, place a bamboo skewer in the middle of the back side of each NY shape and adhere with hot glue.
  4. Stick each NY shape into the cake and artfully assemble.
  5. Decorate the table with some confetti and your cake and celebrate!

Make sure you snag this book to plan for your next NY trip! Tag us with #larsmakes so we can see all of your New York creations!

Paper Quilled Flower Cake

Paper Quilled Flower

I have been absolutely enthralled with Anthropologie’s recent window displays for spring. Do you know that each Anthropologie has its own store artist and display coordinator? For each new window display, the stores are all given a common theme which they can then interpret in a unique way. For this season it was paper quilled flowers, and the results are breathtaking! If you haven’t been to your local Anthropologie, run, don’t walk! You can also look up #anthrowindows on Instagram to see the variety. One of my personal favorites is this pink and orange beauty at the Greensboro, North Carolina Anthropologie. The colors are pure magic and I love the combination of quilling with more traditional paper flower techniques. I don’t know about you, but paper quilling hasn’t really been my cup of tea. Yet, in small doses, it can be lovely!

We used their gorgeous window display as inspiration for this cake topper. We made small paper quilled orange blooms and paired them with some paper kumquat branches. *We’ll be posting a tutorial for the paper kumquat branches soon, but in the meantime, we would suggest using real kumquats! Quilling can be very intricate and complicated but we made simple, delicate flowers to adorn our cake. This cake would be perfect for upcoming spring bridal or baby showers and birthdays!

How-to after the jump!

3 unique popcorn flavors

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3 unique popcorn flavors

In these colder months there’s nothing I enjoy/need more than warmth of any kind, whether that be a heating pad, an electric blanket, or … POPCORN! Popcorn just makes everything better doesn’t it? It feels like a treat without feeling like you’re going to keel over on a cholesterol overdose. Our resident baker/chef, Mary Elizabeth, came up with some delicious unique popcorn flavors to add some variety to the typical buttered variety. And let me tell you, this was a fun and filling shoot for me. 
white chocolate and cranberry popcorncheese and rosemary popcorn IMG_3173 photography by Laura Sumrak  |  Recipes by Mary Elizabeth Hammond  

See the full instructions and recipes on the next page

Becoming Loria Stern

In 2011, Loria Stern started attending adult education classes entitled “Medicinal and Edible Plants” where she learned about foraging and the power of plant medicine. She started combining her culinary skills with the knowledge she was learning about botanicals. All the while she was posting her bespoke creations on Instagram. In 2016 her work was highlighted in Vogue Magazine and she received over 30,000 followers overnight. Fans were asking where they could purchase her treats so she started selling them on her website. The first day she posted her treats, she received over 20 orders. Since that day, her business has grown into a successful baking operation where she employs 4 helpers with living wages. She’s still growing her business, writing a cookbook and pitching a TV show. Exciting things are in store for this hardworking woman!

Loria is wearing a floral dress and standing in a kitchen surrounded by colorful produce.

Meet Loria Stern

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, baker, business person, educator, etc.?

Well, I consider myself all of these things but more so one than the other depending on what day of the week we’re talking about. I would say I started out as an artist and maker, and then became a baker and now my daily tasks are more of a business person and educator. 

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now? 

I grew up in Ojai, CA, a small quaint town nestled in between large mountains but just a 20 minute drive to the beach. The town had a lot of nature–my childhood neighborhood streets were lined with tall oak trees. There was and still is a huge element of health consciousness and spirituality in Ojai and I think those elements absolutely influenced what I do now and the person I’ve become. 

Loria stands with her back to the camera. She's surrounded by fresh cut flowers and she's wearing a straw hat, and there are misty mountains in the background.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger? 

Of course I wanted to be a professional tennis player! That dream ended around 14 years old and then I wanted to be an artist. I guess that dream has come true except through a different medium (culinary arts vs. the visual arts).

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? 

Not really one single person, but more so a number of different friends who loved eating the foods I cooked and baked for them and encouraged me to follow this path.

What sparked your interest in edible flowers? 

I’ve always loved flowers (who doesn’t?!) but it wasn’t until I started learning about the medicinal properties of botanicals in my 3 semesters of the adult education classes that my love for combining edible flowers + botanicals with cooking and baking, really opened up an entire new craft for me. 

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.Brightly colored flowers pressed onto sugar cookies on a wooden background.

What are three words to describe your style? 

Creative, happy and cool.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career? 

I graduated with a BA from college and spent my last year painting and drawing. I was in an art show in my final year of college and sold several pieces. As noted earlier, I also took 3 semesters of adult education classes post college– “Medicinal + Edible Plants” and learned a lot about treating ailments naturally with wild, edible plants. I also attribute my dedication as a competitive tennis player to my strong work ethic, which I think is the most important aspect of my current success. 

Loria sits cross-legged on a teal blanket surrounded by pressed flowers in books and a cup of tea.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now? 

I did not really have a career after graduating college in 2006–I more so worked a bunch of odd jobs to pay the rent–teaching tennis, nannying, working as an assistant, etc. It was not until 2010 when I worked my first job as a prep chef that I really learned my love for the culinary arts and that I wanted to make this a career.

What inspired you to become a baker/florist/gardener? 

My love for nature, working with my hands and discovering new alchemic combinations.

Brightly-colored flowers pressed onto green matcha cookie dough.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why? 

I love making tall tiered wedding cakes and delivering them to the venue. It is always so rewarding.

Tall wedding cake frosted with white frosting and purple and yellow flowerscake frosted with blush pink frosting with purple, yellow, and white pansies pressed onto it. It's styled in a pink draping fabric with a vase of flowers.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

In nature first and foremost. 

How do you make social connections in the creative realm? 

Many via Instagram, I’ve met some of my best friends and have found a beautiful, supportive community of my work there.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present? 

Gah, there are so so many! Truly too hard to just pinpoint a few.

Horizontal photo of Loria wearing a floral dress and holding a tray of baked cookies. Flowers are pressed onto the top of each one.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days? 

My father was a jazz clarinetist and music pervades much of my childhood. I love all types of music and have found there is a time and a place for every genre of music. I love documentaries and listening to podcasts. But I try to stay away from negative media as it definitely affects my mood.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto? 

Work hard and always do your best. Hold yourself and others accountable. Treats others how you’d want to be treated.

Horizontal photo of Loria measuring sugar into a yellow mixing bowl. She's in a kitchen and surrounded by flowers and a turquoise kitchenade mixer

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

I moved to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara just one month before the pandemic began. I had to find a new commercial kitchen and employees within that time and it was extremely difficult to say the least. Looking back, I feel so grateful for the commercial baking space and my LA helpers. 

Loria stands in a field of zinnias wearing a white dress and a straw hat. She's holding a basket full of flowers.

How do your surroundings influence your work? 

So much. I realized I am creatively motivated by my physical space. I love natural light and need to be close to nature. 

Loria bends down to pick wildflowers in a meadow. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat.

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump? 

Exercise is always a good idea and I have found it to be the number one cure for all sorts of slumps. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

I enjoy waking up early. I drink coffee first thing in the morning, then I’ll mosey around my backyard garden with coffee in hand. I’ll stroll up to my home office, check business and personal emails, and then the day is off and running. I usually pick edible botanicals from my garden then meet my team at the bakery. We start cranking our baking orders and then before I know it, it’s 6pm! Then I’ll come home, meet up with my boyfriend and we’ll cook dinner and watch a show.

Loria decorating a pan of focaccia with flowers and vegetables. She's shaped them into a floral scene.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

To learn as much as you can about the hobby / skill. There is so much readily available information that one can learn online that school is not necessary as long as there is curiosity, dedication and a strong work ethic.

Loria standing at the head of a banquet table full of food and flowers. It is sunset and there are mountains in the background.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on? 

I’d say tennis is my secret talent for those who are just meeting me now! Otherwise, I’m working on learning how to surf but it’s extremely hard!

Two pans of botanical cookies with pressed flowers. The ones on the top are a vanilla shortbread and the ones on the bottom are pink.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business? 

Gah, I am still trying to figure that out. I have not accepted investment from outside sources however am currently looking into it to grow my business!

A plate of baked floral shortbread stacked up. In the background there are lots of flowers scattered.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?” 

I’d like to become more well-traveled. I want to visit Japan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sweden, and the list continues! I want to visit these places and learn about new ingredients and cooking techniques and share those with an audience so that they can live on and evolve into our current day’s food. 

A film photograph of Loria walking away from the camera through a field of wildflowers. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat and there are trees and mountains in the background.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years? 

First and foremost, I hope to remain healthy! Secondly, I hope to open up a physical commissary kitchen with a retail space, classroom and on-site edible flower garden so that I can teach my botanical infused culinary arts to the greater community. There is so much information that I find so inspiring and interesting, I am sure others will as well.

Loria sitting on a bed with teal bedding and flowers in a bowl. She's wearing a beige jumpsuit and there's low, moody lighting.

Can’t get enough of Loria Stern?

We don’t blame you! Follow Loria’s work on her Instagram @LoriaStern and don’t forget to check out her website, where you can buy her delicious, beautiful creations!

Years ago we wrote a post about using edible flowers, and I hope that this interview with Loria Stern makes you even more excited to incorporate beautiful botanicals into your meals (like this edible flower pot).

Read more Becoming interviews here to keep the inspiration flowing!

Loria walking through a meadow of flowers wearing a white dress and a straw sun hat. She's holding a basket of flowers and the sky is blue.

All photos are courtesy of Loria Stern.

Watermelon lime lemonade

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WATERMELON LIME LEMONADE

Fruit season is upon us! Cue the bells! That means…how do we use them? Well, in a fruity drink, of course! This watermelon mint lemonade is a delight and you will love it for picnics, parties, or just every day.
Watermelon lemonade recipe Fun summer drink recipes

Photography by Laura Sumrak  |  Styled by Brittany Jepsen  |  Recipe by Kelly Curtis 

Shop the post:

See below for the full recipe!

Colorful layered cake recipe

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Colorful layered cake

Man, I gave you a little teaser last week of the Balloons & Books baby shower and then I was mum! Well, mum no more, I’m sharing more details about the party and today it’s the colorful cake that Mary Elizabeth Hammond made for our celebration of Victoria and baby Anthem. Layered cakes are nothing new, but I still find them totally charming and shocking—I’ve never actually seen one in person, nor have I ever come close to making even one of those layers, nay, a half of one of those layers. I did burn a cake mix once though, but that’s a story for another day.Baby shower cakeBalloons and books baby showerColorful layered cakecolorful birthday cake

So, I thought it would be fun to make it nondescript from the outside so that it would be a little mullet moment when it was cut open (you know, business in the front, party in the back). Ha! Not true, I just totally forgot to do anything about a cake topper. But I like the excuse so I’m going to stick with it. I should have been a spin doctor.

Balloonbabyshower-55Balloonbabyshower-62Balloonbabyshower-83

Photography by Melissa Leavitt  |  Cake by Mary Elizabeth Hammond  |  Concept and styling by Brittany Jepsen  |  Partyware and balloons from Zurchers 

Click below for full Colorful Vanilla Cake Recipe!

4th of July celebrations

Leave it to me to work last minute up to the holiday. You’re probably gone for the weekend and not even checking in on blogs. Awesome. We just had so much fun making projects that we couldn’t help ourselves! Last week we had a pre 4th of July picnic and had a blast. We brought tunes, some food, and drinks and enjoyed ourselves at the local park. I’ve already shown you a few of our projects but here are some other details that might help in your last minute preparations. (BTW: check out our video!)
No American celebration is complete without some lemonade and this is one of my favorite brands. We got ours from the local shop, Pop ‘n Sweets, but find out where you can get some near you here.
ME made a delicious pop rock cake and topped it off when sparklers. Guys, I am SO on sugar these days. I mean, how could I not?! And we carried the cake with our new handy dandy cake box from Pie Box which even comes with a nifty leather handle, perfect for bike riding! It even fits in cupcakes. It’s perfect.

Berry lemonade popsicles from Ramblin Rose Cafe here
Lady Liberty Floral Crown
Swag flag necklace tutorial here
picnic basket and picnic blanket from Poppytalk‘s new summer Target line
Cake Box from here
American flag banner tutorial 

photography by Laura Sumrak 

Happy 4th of July! We’ll see you next week!

Snacks For Kids and Jasper’s Cooking Show

To be quite honest, finding snacks for kids isn’t very hard in my household because Jasper does all the finding himself. 🙄 He’s been known to eat an entire stick of butter, chunks of garlic (why??), whole tubs of ice cream (though who can blame him)…you get the idea. Say what you will about the boy, he’ll never starve!

Jasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Still, I’d rather he ate food a little less…chaotically. Like, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of just finding an empty butter wrapper and lots of greasy fingerprints, then putting together the clues I handed him a plate of something healthy? Even better, wouldn’t it be nice if Jasper were able to assemble some reasonable food on his own? It sounds pretty great to me.

Jasper holds a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. His hands are in focus.

I know that it can be hard to think up intentional snacks for kids when you have a hangry toddler hanging onto your leg. So why not give the toddler some ideas so he can come up with his own snacks? Nothing could go wrong, right?

Without further ado, I present:

Cooking with Jasper: Ants on a Log

Watch me teach Jasper to make my culinary magnum opus, ants on a log!

It will probably be a few years before I can set Jasper free in the kitchen with total confidence (did you see that knife grab? 😮 Yikes!!). Still, ants on a log is definitely a snack that kids can make without too much help.

My 5 go-to snacks for kids

Ants on a log

  1. Wash and slice celery into 3-4 inch lengths.
  2. Spread some peanut butter into the celery divot.
  3. Top with raisins. Tadaa!

ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Apples and cheese

  1. Slice your favorite cheddar cheese.
  2. Slice some apples.
  3. Put the cheese on the apples. A salty and sweet symphony.

Snack-uterie board

Okay, this one takes some more time. But I’d much rather arrange food than actually cook it, so I don’t mind.

  1. Gather your and your kid’s favorite snacks. I like using crackers, dried and sliced fruit, a few cookies, popcorn, cheeses, a few candies, and some sliced ham.
  2. Arrange your treats on the board. This is where the craftiness kicks in!
  3. Enjoy the tasty spread of snacks and treats together.

Snack-uterie boards are perfect for movie nights, game nights, or other times when the family is all sitting around and snacking. Check out my most recent one, the Char-boo-terie board, and my original Painted Charcuterie board.

a painted charcuterie board loaded with colorful snacks.A ghost-shaped halloween snack board on a black background.

Babybel and wheat thins

You know those babybel cheeses that come in the cute red wax wrappers? I think they’re great snacks for kids because they’re compact and don’t require any knives or slicing, and they’re delicious. They’re delicious, and the wax wrappers are also fun to model into little shapes.

  1. Unwrap your cheese.
  2. Use a stiff cracker (like a wheat thin) to chop of some of the cheese, and enjoy.

hummus with pita strips, carrots, and celery

  1. Spoon some hummus into a bowl.
  2. Slice a few pitas into strips or triangles (bonus points if you toast them first, but it’s not necessary).
  3. Wash and slice a few carrots and celery sticks into 3-4 inch sticks.
  4. Dip, then relish the combination of creamy and crunchy.

Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.

What are your go-to snacks for kids? I’d love to hear what your favorites are (and add them to my snacking arsenal)!

Donut Flower Bouquet

Donut Flower Bouquet
Did you know that National Donut Day is June 2nd? There is absolutely no other way to celebrate Donut Day than by eating donuts. Let’s hold each other accountable, shall we? Not that we really need an excuse to eat donuts, but it does ease my conscience a bit I get to blame a national holiday for the calories.

To celebrate Donut Day properly, you need something special. These are not just your typical trendy bakery donuts. I’m looking at you maple bacon donut. No, Sir, not for National Donut Day. This is a Donut Flower Bouquet!

Donut Flower Bouquet

Move over cake pops, we’ve transformed donuts into a bouquet that will give fresh flowers a fun for their money—two of our favorite things combined into one. Take store-bought mini donuts, slide on our paper flower template, stick on a skewer and you’re set. We’re confident semi-homemade queen, Sandra Lee, would be proud. These make great party favors, handouts, or a sweet gift. Gift them individually or fill a bakery box with an entire bouquet. Happy National Donut Day!

Continue to download the petal and leaf templates

Sweet Spot: Cinnamon Buns with Blueberry Cream Cheese Glaze

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Cinnamon Buns with Blueberry Cream Cheese Glaze

It’s the middle of the year, and that always has me hankering for one thing…adventure. The first half of the year has been devoted to new projects, getting things done, and setting things up. Now, it feels like the time to break free. I want to go on long hikes, rent a bicycle in the city and find a restaurant I’ve never been to before. Host a brunch party in my backyard, and buy a dress that I would never usually wear. No matter what adventure you find yourself striking out on, these cinnamon buns are just the thing. That bright splodge of sweet blueberry cream cheese glaze takes these away from being a warming, but stodgy treat, and lifts them into being elegant, fragrant and almost light (well…almost). The buns themselves are small too – these aren’t the kind of rolls that you’ll need to take a nap after.

Cinnamon Buns with Blueberry Cream Cheese Glaze Cinnamon Buns with Blueberry Cream Cheese GlazeCinnamon Buns with Blueberry Cream Cheese Glaze

These are the kind of rolls that give you the burst of energy that you need to keep hiking, shopping, cycling or brunching. And may I say, they are particularly perfect at brunch: just the right thing to bring out after the more savoury items, when everyone is just relaxing and drinking coffee. Kind of like a brunch dessert, but more like a full stop on the meal. Anyway, like I said, these are very versatile. Whatever adventure you find yourself on, I can’t imagine that a batch of purple-splodged buns would do anything but make it better. Hope you try these!

Recipe and photography by Sarah Coates of The Sugar Hit 

Marshmallow snowmen from Celebrate Everything

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darcy_holidayparty2013_5857

I’ve been a big fan of Martha Stewart editor, Darcy Miller ever since buying Martha Stewart Wedding magazines back when I had no need to be buying wedding magazines. Everything she touches turns to gold! I was thrilled to get my hands on her new book, Celebrate Everything, which is the ultimate guide to throwing every type of party imaginable. It’s chock full of fun and beautiful events and provides a blue print on how to do it all. It’s the logistical things about party planning that mystify me the most and it’s all broken down here. Each page features a stellar idea after stellar idea.  Darcy has shared one of the projects from her book, the Marshmallow Snowmen, just for Lars readers. Darcy says, “These Marshmallow Men are a fun and easy holiday craft. Yummy on their own or a great way to accessorize a cupcake or a glass of hot chocolate!”

Get the recipe below!