shop-n-surf: fun ice cube trays

I thought I’d add a bit of whimsy into my kitchen with a new set of quirky ice-cube trays but as I began my seplace I was awed at all the different trays available. However will I choose!?!

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Even though I never really played with legos as a kid when I saw these over at coolhunting.com they instantly moved to the top of my list (at least for the time being). Pick ’em up at shop.lego.com.

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Not so sure I could get passed the eww-factor on this one, but “mice-ice” would surely be a conversation starter. Score some at perpetualkid.com.

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For the fashionista, what about these Gucci trays over at fabsugar.com. You can grab a set on sale for $23 over at the Nieman Marcus site (they were originally $90!!). I wonder if there’s a tray of the Chanel C’s out there somewhere!?

Or perhaps you want more bling in your drink — check out these “cool jewels” at fredflare.com. For just $8 each, those are some jewels I can actually afford! — Erica P.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: chocolate & zucchini cake

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I’ve been wanting to write about our friend Clotilde Dusoulier’s book Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen for a few weeks now, but wanted to make sure I did it justice. This weekend, I finally had the time to dive in and cook up one of the recipes in the book — not just any recipe, but the one that sort of started it all, Chocolate & Zucchini Cake (or Gateau Chocolat & Courgette). At first, you may not think those two ingredients belong together, but the zucchini makes the cake amazingly moist and gives you an excuse to eat an extra slice (eat your veggies!). I followed the recipe in the book (which is just slightly different than the one the blog) except instead of using a spring-form pan, I poured the batter into a bundt pan. I opted to use olive oil, instead of butter in the recipe (Clotilde offers the option) and didn’t miss it all. I noticed the blog recipe says you can use whole wheat flour, which I will use next time, just to up the good-for-you quota. But I must say that Clotilde gets four stars for this baby — this cake is amazing! I brought it to work and my co-workers were duly impressed. Even that cat was tempted (as you can see from the photo) though I managed to keep him away. I heartily recommend you buy the book and make the cake! — Angela M.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: chocolate & zucchini cake

shelter_candzcake.jpg

I’ve been wanting to write about our friend Clotilde Dusoulier’s book Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen for a few weeks now, but wanted to make sure I did it justice. This weekend, I finally had the time to dive in and cook up one of the recipes in the book — not just any recipe, but the one that sort of started it all, Chocolate & Zucchini Cake (or Gateau Chocolat & Courgette). At first, you may not think those two ingredients belong together, but the zucchini makes the cake amazingly moist and gives you an excuse to eat an extra slice (eat your veggies!). I followed the recipe in the book (which is just slightly different than the one the blog) except instead of using a spring-form pan, I poured the batter into a bundt pan. I opted to use olive oil, instead of butter in the recipe (Clotilde offers the option) and didn’t miss it all. I noticed the blog recipe says you can use whole wheat flour, which I will use next time, just to up the good-for-you quota. But I must say that Clotilde gets four stars for this baby — this cake is amazing! I brought it to work and my co-workers were duly impressed. Even that cat was tempted (as you can see from the photo) though I managed to keep him away. I heartily recommend you buy the book and make the cake! — Angela M.

From our partners

help! what's the best frozen margarita recipe?

I’m wondering if you have a good recipe for frozen margaritas. I’ve made them every way possible (with mix, without mix) and they never have the same quality or taste of one I could buy in a restaurant. What am I doing wrong? — Mary Beth, Lexington, KY

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Hi Mary Beth! Thanks for your questions. Frozen margaritas are a skill indeed. Honestly, we prefer them on the rocks, but frozen can be a blast when you have seasonal fruits and such to blend in. We’ve used this recipe from Martha with success. Of course, she weighs on the side of NO MIX, and we’d have to agree. The mix of fresh limes with Cointreau is perfect. What you really need is a good blender! Chop up the ice first, and then blend your other ingredients in separate pitcher — tasting along the way — before blending together. This recipe from Myrecipes.com, recommends skipping the ice, but freeze everything else for eight hours, and also says frozen limemade can work. We’ve made margaritas using Santa Cruz Organic Limemade. It’s perfectly sweetened and so easy! Once you’ve mastered the basic one, it’s time to get creative. You can add just about any flavor to a frozen margarita — we’re in favor of berries of all kinds. This cucumber margarita recipe sounds mighty tempting!

Does anyone else have a fool-proof way to make frozen margaritas? Please let us know!

From our partners

help! what’s the best frozen margarita recipe?

I’m wondering if you have a good recipe for frozen margaritas. I’ve made them every way possible (with mix, without mix) and they never have the same quality or taste of one I could buy in a restaurant. What am I doing wrong? — Mary Beth, Lexington, KY

shelter_frozenmargarita.jpg

Hi Mary Beth! Thanks for your questions. Frozen margaritas are a skill indeed. Honestly, we prefer them on the rocks, but frozen can be a blast when you have seasonal fruits and such to blend in. We’ve used this recipe from Martha with success. Of course, she weighs on the side of NO MIX, and we’d have to agree. The mix of fresh limes with Cointreau is perfect. What you really need is a good blender! Chop up the ice first, and then blend your other ingredients in separate pitcher — tasting along the way — before blending together. This recipe from Myrecipes.com, recommends skipping the ice, but freeze everything else for eight hours, and also says frozen limemade can work. We’ve made margaritas using Santa Cruz Organic Limemade. It’s perfectly sweetened and so easy! Once you’ve mastered the basic one, it’s time to get creative. You can add just about any flavor to a frozen margarita — we’re in favor of berries of all kinds. This cucumber margarita recipe sounds mighty tempting!

Does anyone else have a fool-proof way to make frozen margaritas? Please let us know!

From our partners