Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fresh Nectarine Mozzarella and Basil Salad

When fruit is in season, it tastes so amazing!  The sweetness, the juiciness, it's all perfect!

I'm partnering with Harmons Grocery to bring you some fun new posts and recipes!  Harmons Grocery is hands down my favorite grocery store in Utah!  I'm not even kidding when I say I shop there EVERYDAY.  It's no joke!  They have it all and more, and care about their customers bringing the best ingredients and quality they can get their hands on!
I went over to Harmons and picked up some amazing nectarines from Brandt's Farm.  I also grabbed some fresh mozzarella balls, and a fresh basil plant! They also have an amazing selection of high quality balsamic vinegars and olive oils!

This mozzarella nectarine salad topped with a little honey balsamic reduction and basil is out of this world!  The blend of flavors is unique and just plain knocks your socks off!  

It's so easy to make, in just a few easy steps you can create this gourmet salad in no time!

Fresh Nectarine, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad with a Honey Balsamic Reduction
Serves 4

4 ripe nectarines 
1 cup fresh basil leaves sliced into ribbons
8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, drained
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1) Cut each nectarine into 6 to 8 wedges, then cut each wedge in half crosswise.
2) In a medium bowl, combine nectarines, mozzarella, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and toss. You can cover and refrigerate for several hours, or serve it at room temperature.
3) Top with fresh basil.
4) In a small sauce pan, combine honey and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a boil, and stir and reduce and concentrate the mixture until it reduces by half and gets thicker.  Remove from heat, let it cool,  and drizzle over nectarine mixture when ready to serve.

{all photos by me, Caroline Armelle Drake}

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

alt summit summer 2014 re-cap ...

I was so excited to be able to attend Alt Summit June 2014 last week in Salt Lake City!  This is the first summer Alt in Salt Lake, and since we always have the weirdest weather during the January Alt's, it was nice to have it in the summer!  Of course it rained the first day, but the weather was better the rest of the time!  This was my fourth time attending Alt, and I always have the best time and meet the nicest people.

Alt Summit is a design conference for bloggers and businesses hoping to work with bloggers.  It is a conference full of beautiful things, including classes and panels on how to make your blog better!

I was able to start the conference out with a dinner at Pago sponsored by The Honest Company and hosted by Small Fry Blog.
The food and company were excellent!  Menu's handwritten by my friend Aubry of Hello Maypole.
All the guests were asked to wear their summer whites.  You can read more about the dinner on the Small Fry Blog.
The next morning I attended a panel on how to pitch to brands.  (Do you spot me?)
Imagine an entire conference room full of bloggers, and you are given the chance to stand up and pitch LIVE right then and there to Bing and Wayfair for an amazing outdoor party.  Well, yes! That actually happened to me!  I pitched a party, and I won!!  I actually don't really remember what my pitch included since it was pretty nerve wracking to be on the spot like that without preparing. But, I think it went something along the lines of:  we are building our dream home that should be done soon, and it will be a birthday, anniversary, house warming/getting our lives back party. More on the party with Bing and Wayfair to come I'm sure!
Our place settings at lunch the first day complete with Oh Joy for Target mini party hats!
I always appreciate the amazing set ups that our sponsors have in the lounge areas!  Here is the cute set up by Silhouette.
And, of course I can't resist a good Smile Booth!  Bing had an amazing lounge with some beautiful real flowers installed by my friend Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral. #ThanksBing
 The first night we all walked over to the park for a casual dinner from local food trucks.

A little trip to La Bonne Vie pastry shop in The Grand America.
Of course one of the biggest draws to Alt this year was Martha Stewart herself!  Say what you want about Martha, but she was one impressive resume.  She really is a renaissance woman, with big plans to take over the world! She talked a lot about her goals to make Martha Stewart a global company, with a lot of her sights on China.
I was lucky enough to get great seats on the front row, I felt like she was looking right at me! (can spot me in the denim dress?)  She even liked one of my Instagram photos and re-tweeted my tweet all while speaking! (wink)
Another big highlight about Alt is spending time with so many of my friends!  It's a lot of fun to be able to chat with grown-ups, and feel a little glamorous when my normal life is chasing after three kids all day!
The final evening was a beautiful courtyard garden party at The Grand America.  You definitely can't do this during the January Alt Summit.
We had a good time "testing" out the croquet set.
 Bike riding in the courtyard was also fun.  Wearing a dress was interesting.
I think Alt SLC in June was much more laid back than the normal Alt in the winter, but I think that goes with the time of year.  I am always happy I went, and that I could meet new people, work with new brands, and get to have a little fun during it all!

To see more pictures of Alt Summit, feel free to browse their Alt Flickr page.

{Photos by: Me, Justin Hackwork, Brooke Dennis, and Honest Dinner by Becky Kimball}

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

get away today travel ...

{My family at on our Disney Vacation last year}

I am excited to announce my partnership with Get Away Today!  A one stop site to plan and book your next family vacation with the best prices out there!

Did you hear that Disneyland just raised their ticket prices?

Well, Get Away Today has you covered, if you book before May 27th, then you can still take advantage of their old pricing in their current deals.

Here's a few of the packages they are offering this month:
Disneyland Packages
4 nights with 2 adult 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets
From $878

San Diego Packages       
4 nights with 2 adult SeaWorld San Diego Tickets
From $574

Las Vegas Packages
Hotels starting at $30 per night!

This is a perfect opportunity for a summer road trip!

You can take $10 off your Southern California vacation package with the coupon code armelle14 !

Be sure to check out their packages, and their blog for all the latest info on some amazing vacation deals!

{*I am a Get Away Today affiliate, if you are interested in sponsorship on the Armelle Blog, please email carolinearmelle@gmail.com}

Monday, April 14, 2014

mango lassi ...

I love mangoes!  I taught a cooking class recently at Orson Gygi, and we made Indian food.  I thought mango lassi's would be a perfect addition to the menu.  And, they are so easy to make!  Especially if you keep frozen mango in your freezer!  Mango lassi's every day! Wink!

Mango Lassi
Serves 2

2 Mangoes, peeled and pitted or 1 cup Frozen Mango Puree
1 cup plain greek yogurt
½ cup milk
1 tbsp honey or sugar (optional)
big pinch of ground cardamom
garnish with chopped pistachios (optional)

Make sure all ingredients are chilled. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  You can add ice if you would like a thicker consistency.

Serve Immediately.


Friday, April 11, 2014

clean eating snack: plantains with almond butter …

I've been trying to eat clean like I do most of the time, but sometimes it's nice to have a little snack!

I had some leftover plantains, so I decided to invent a little "treat."

I've been off refined sugar for about eight weeks now, and I'm feeling great!  I usually go on and off all through the year.  But, I always feel better when I'm not eating it, unfortunately, because I love a good homemade baked good!
But, these fried plantains with a little almond butter, coconut flakes, and a drizzle of honey really did the trick!  It tasted like a real treat!

In a skillet, add a few tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat.  Lightly fry the sliced plantains in the coconut oil until browned on both sides. Remove and place on paper towels.

Add a little spoonful for natural almond butter, un-sweetened coconut flakes, and a little drizzle of honey.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

best of armelle blog: easter edition ...

Can you believe that Easter is already a week from Sunday?

Well, if you are scrambling for some fun Easter ideas, I thought I would share a few of my favorite Easter DIY posts from Armelle blog over the years. 

DIY Easter "Carrots" (shown above)
How to put together an Easter basket (Easter basket ideas for boys and girls)

Hopefully this helps get some Easter ideas flowing! 

Have a good one!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

merco local box review ...

I was excited to have a chance to receive and review a Merco local box!

MercoBox is a stylish subscription box that features the best Utah companies!

I love the idea of supporting local companies in my community, I am all about that!
The box comes once a month, and is filled with the best that Utah has to offer.  Each month is a fun new surprise!  This month had items from protein shakes, to coupons to local businesses, to yummy Madeleine cookies!

Check out MercoBox and all their amazing boxes!  You can buy a one time box, or a subscription for only $19.99 a month! This box has a value of $65, so it's a fun way to try out some local Utah products for a great price!  

Be sure to use COUPON CODE: "iheartutah" for 25% off your order!! 

Pretty neat!  Head over to MercoBox for more information and to subscribe to their monthly boxes!

Do you support local?

{Disclosure:  This is a review of the product that I received in exchange for a review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. If you are a brand and are interested in working with Armelle Blog, please email me at carolinearmelle@gmail.com}

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

homemade larabars part 2 ...

I love Larabars because they are made of all natural ingredients, no gluten, no dairy, no sugar.  But, trust me, the homemade ones are SO much better than the store bought ones.  They really don't even compare.  The homemade ones taste so much better!  I usually make a big batch, and keep them in my fridge in little baggies for a quick on the go snack. See the last time I shared a larabar recipe here.

There is no limit to the combinations you can do!  Basically the base starts with a dried fruit or dates.  But, be careful when selecting your dried fruit.  Most of them have added sugar!  I takes a while to find ones without sugar, just be sure to look at the ingredients.  I was finally able to find dried natural cherries without added sugar at Trader Joe's.  Raisins usually don't have any added sugar.  Fresh dates, prunes, apricots, are also some you can find easily too.  I still have yet to find dried cranberries without added sugar.

So, I start with a dried fruit, then add some kind of a nut.  You can come up with a million different combinations.

Here are a few of my favorites lately!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Larabars
8-9 large pitted fresh Medjool dates
1/2 dried cherries (no sugar added)
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tbs natural peanut butter (no additives, just made from peanuts)

Place all of the ingredients in a large food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.  Takes about 30 seconds to minute.  Next place foil or parchment paper in a 9x9 baking dish.  Press the pulsed ingredients into the pan, and let it set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Remove and cut into bars.  Store in fridge.
Chocolate Almond Coconut Larabars
1 tbs good quality cocoa powder (I like Trader Joe's or dutch processed cocoa powder)
10 large pitted fresh Medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon natural almond butter (ingredients should only say almonds)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Place all of the ingredients in a large food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.  Takes about 30 seconds to minute.  Next place foil or parchment paper in a 9x9 baking dish.  Press the pulsed ingredients into the pan, and let it set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Remove and cut into bars.  Store in fridge.

Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Larabars
1 cup natural raisins
1/2 cup raw rolled oats
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts

Place all of the ingredients in a large food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.  Takes about 30 seconds to minute.  Next place foil or parchment paper in a 9x9 baking dish.  Press the pulsed ingredients into the pan, and let it set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Remove and cut into bars.  Store in fridge.

I also like to make power balls, or energy balls.  Basically you do the same thing, then roll them into balls instead of putting them in a baking sheet and cutting bars.  They are easy to grab on the go as well, and I like to eat one before a morning workout if I don't want to eat a heavy breakfast first.

Almond Oat Energy Balls
2 1/2 cup dates, I prefer Medjool dates (pitted)
1 1/4 raw almonds
2 tbs almond butter 
1/4 cup raw old fashion oats
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Place all of the ingredients in a large food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.  Takes about 30 seconds to minute.  Next, roll them into 2 inch balls, and place them in a airtight container in the fridge. Keep them stored in the fridge.